Posts Tagged ‘Miscarriage’

Two Candles, One Dream

photo

As I type this and stare at two flickering candles, I think about all the others out there doing the same.

It doesn’t seem right that the autumn air is warm outside while a chill runs through my bones in this room.

It seems unreal that one year ago I watched one candle burn while now I watch two.

I don’t think I ever came to terms with the last loss. From a medical viewpoint, it wasn’t a baby. Just a placenta and possibly tissue. Cells. No one really knows. I could never let myself imagine it as a baby, but as I stare at that second candle tonight I feel differently.

The pain and grief have subsided but are never far away. I can’t let myself go there. I have to move on. Not because my losses don’t matter, but because they do.

To everyone out there who has experienced infant or pregnancy loss, I hope you find comfort and strength, now and always.

nil

 

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.

 

 

Flukes and Freaks

file0001658276429

Remember in my last post when I said that I didn’t really miss the baby that I just lost a few weeks ago?

There’s a reason for that.

There was no baby.

But there was a pregnancy.

The pathology report from the D&C indicated that there were products of conception, but no fetal parts.

From what I understand, it was just one big chromosomal mess.  Sperm met egg and fertilized (or so I think–previous ultrasounds showed a gestational sac and fetal pole, both irregularly shaped) but whatever was supposed to continue to grow and develop did not do so.

At the beginning of the pregnancy, the doctor suspected a molar/partial molar pregnancy which is pretty bad.  To put it simply, this is a situation where the “pregnancy” or trophoblastic tissue turns into a disease which could turn into cancer (though this is very rare).  The doctor removes it through D&C and your HCG levels are monitored for 6 months to a year to make sure it doesn’t “come back.”  During this time you shouldn’t try to conceive because it might be hard to differentiate between a legitimate pregnancy and regrown molar tissue.

Thought I had quite a bit of trophoblastic tissue it was not determined to be molar.  This is a huge relief.  Sometimes chromosomal abnormalities make it appear molar even though it is not and this is probably what happened to me.   As long as my HCG levels go to zero in a few weeks, I should be fine.

The whole thing scared and scares the hell out of me though.

To put it bluntly, I feel like a freak.  I was pregnant with products of conception. I can’t believe I’m even posting a phrase like that.   It wasn’t a boy.  It wasn’t a girl.  It was just a bunch of tissue and placenta that gave me the hormones of a normal, healthy pregnant woman.   Yep, just a freak show.

In short, it was all a lie.

How does something like this even happen?  How does it happen to me?  For three years now I’ve been “waiting for normal” and it hasn’t shown up.  This is my second miscarriage in 5 months.  How the hell does that even happen?  I waited two and a half years to just get pregnant for the first time (we know how that turned out).  Now, I can get pregnant every few months?

It’s funny–I use to be afraid that I would never get pregnant.  Now I am afraid to.  I can’t take any more loss.  I.  Just.  Can’t.

The general feeling I get from my doctor and from what I read online is that what happened to me was “just a fluke.”  I think people say things like this to be comforting.  They tell me things like “Something went wrong early.  Something didn’t divide right.  It was random.  It was just chromosomal.  It was a fluke.”

I guess I see it a little differently.

To me, a fluke is stubbing your toe and then tripping over your feet.  A fluke is dropping a pencil on the floor and then hitting your head on the table as you go to pick it up.

A fluke is not getting pregnant after one miscarriage just to have another one months later.  A fluke is not putting your heart, soul, and every ounce of your being into a dream only to watch it once again disintegrate in ways you never knew were possible.  A fluke is not staying up all night because every time you close your eyes you only see abnormal ultrasounds and blood in the toilet.

A fluke is not a miscarriage.

Each day I tell myself, “I can be a normal person.  I can go to work.  I can pretend I have a normal life.  The last few months of my life have not been the disaster that I have imagined them to be.”

It’s not true though.  This is my life.  This is happening to me and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

My Unhappy Ending

lost

Well, February was over before it started and so was pregnancy # 2!

Here is the rundown:

Monday, February 11: BFP!

Wednesday, February 13 : Beta #1 1900ish

Friday, February 15: Beta #2 5000

Saturday, February 16: Red-brown and brown blood spotting (Pretty much knew it was over)

Tuesday, February 19: More blood, ultrasound revealed large, irregularly shaped mass and a possible gestational sac; doctor suspects molar pregnancy; wait

Thursday, February 21: HCG levels normal and increasing, ultrasound revealed larger, but abnormally-shaped  gestational sac with possible fetal pole; doctor suspects mass is a very large blood clot and not a molar pregnancy; wait

Thursday, February 28:  HCG levels still normal and increasing but gestational sac shows no growth from previous week; wait

Monday, March 4: Despite rising HCG levels, ultrasound shows no additional gestational sac growth;  OFFICIALLY OVER; D & C scheduled

Tuesday, March 5: D & C performed.

The blood clot could have stopped the embryo from growing or it could have been another chromosomal abnormality.  I guess we’ll find out soon.

Like I said, all of these events took place within a few, short weeks but those days have consisted of sleepless nights, missed work, trips back and forth to the doctor, hopelessness, and terror.  Maybe I have no idea what pregnancy and expectancy are supposed to feel like, but I know for certain that it’s not supposed to feel like this.

I honestly do not go looking for trouble, but why does it always find me?

Right now, I’m just trying to survive physically and emotionally.  This D & C has been a lot harder on me than the previous one.  I fear the sight of blood and clotting.  I try to stay medicated just to stay sane.

Maybe my body is getting stronger, but my spirit is getting weaker.  I really have no words to describe how I feel emotionally:  numb?  scared?  broken?  I just don’t know.

I don’t think I miss this second baby (and I hate to say that) because I never got the chance to get attached.  Once I saw the blood that Saturday, I just figured it was all downhill from there.  I didn’t really get a clear picture on the ultrasound and the baby never had a heartbeat.  I guess I’m lucky that way–not seeing or knowing the baby.  Maybe it won’t hurt as much.

But it’s all a lie because I still miss my first baby.  Now more than ever.

Two Walks

Thank you, Belle, for your Spiritual/Virtual Walk to Remember idea!  Recently Belle attended a real-life walk to honor the memory of precious Pip and of other babies lost in pregnancy, birth, and beyond.   After a less-than-validating experience, she proposed the idea of  a “virtual walk to remember” in which all bloggers could take their own personal walk in the environment of their choosing to remember and honor those who were lost.

It just so happens that I attended my own virtual walk Saturday and an in-person one today, Sunday.  I woke up Saturday in a pretty crappy mood since I had spent the previous night at a high-school football game.  Not that the game itself bothered me (to say my home team lost would be an understatement).  Nor did the super-chilly, piercing weather put me in a bad mood for the next day.  It was seeing all those people from high school who had babies and babies galore.  Ok, it was only one person who had two babies, but the image of watching her chase after and show off her children all night was the first memory that greeted me Saturday morning.

That morning I had planned to go down to the park and photograph something that would speak to me–something that would remind me of my baby.  For some reason, I semi-strongly felt this image would be a butterfly, particularly an orange one (maybe this is called a monarch butterfly?)  However, I decided to just stroll around my backyard with the animals instead.  I knew I didn’t have a great deal to photograph back there but I chose to sit in the corner of my yard and just enjoy the warmth of the sun on my shoulders.  I wondered which of my blogger friends might be doing the same in another city thinking of their little ones as well.  I cleared my head and tried to appreciate my previous happiness, but told myself that I could never really see myself moving forward.  As much as I tried, mountains of negativity continued to invade my thoughts.

Then I looked across the yard at my garden at the mini-rose bush that was planted two years ago.  Ironically, it was a Mother’s Day gift from the dogs.  I stood, strolled over to it, and was drawn to one rose.  One that had recently opened and seemed to grow more vibrant and stronger by the minute.  I instantly knew it was hers.

I caressed the delicate petals of the rose and inhaled.  The fragrance of the rose carried just a hint of sweetness.  It was at this moment that I finally found the calm I was searching for.  I felt a closeness to my baby that I cannot explain with words.  I was able to tell her just how much she was loved and will continue to be.  The moments of peace I felt afterward seemed to erase the sadness I had felt earlier.

Today was the in-person walk and I had misgivings about attending.   Part of me didn’t want to invalidate what I had experienced the day before and the other part of me felt like my grief was just too fresh to be around others in that setting.  We went anyway.  At first, it was hard.  Just standing around with others and knowing why I was there brought a river of tears to my eyes.  I felt like we didn’t belong because no one else seemed to be upset and most of the other couples seemed to have children in attendance with them.  I think the thing that upset me the most was filling out the registration sheet where you list the child’s name and birth date.  We never officially named her and I wasn’t about to come up with a name on the spot.  I wasn’t calm enough to realize that I didn’t even have to fill out the form nor did I have to even come up with a name.

After we got situated, it got better.  There was a tree-watering ceremony and we all walked to the river to hear the speaker.  On the way there, I couldn’t help but notice what was basking in the bushes:

If you look closely, you will see two orange butterflies.  Actually, the bush contained a slew of butterflies, just as if  they had been planted there for me to see.  Seeing those butterflies, I knew my baby was with me.  A feeling of strength overcame me and I knew that I would be able to finish the day.

Listening to the guest speaker helped me a great deal.  She shared her own journey of infertility which included the loss of her son due to complications from preeclampsia.    She said many things that helped me, but these things stand out:

1.  Grief is not linear.  Being an extremely linear person, I have had issues here.  I tend to see a beginning, middle, and end, but who doesn’t?

2. Mourning and grief are different.  Mourning lasts a specific time period, while grief is permanent.  Losing a baby, whether through pregnancy or afterwards, changes you forever.  Mourning is a different process for everyone.  You, nor anyone else, can put a time limit on it.

3. You want your child to be proud of you.

I think the third one resonates most with me, too, and have felt this way for a few weeks.  I have had some very tough times at work lately and the thing that has kept me going forward has been the memory of what I had.  She is the reason I am able to get out of bed each day.  She is the reason I can move forward.  Even when I feel like I am dying on the inside, it is her strength that makes me live.

It’s amazing how hearing another’s story can bring us healing.  That is why I am so thankful for this community of people who not only have the courage to share their own stories but have the compassion to put themselves in someone else’s position.   Some can identify because they have walked the same road while others have the gift of genuine empathy.  Those are the people who truly deserve to be called remarkable.

The Flame

Last night, before I lit my candle for National Pregnancy Loss and Infant Remembrance, I made a mental list of all the bloggers I could think of that had lost babies.  At first, between three women, six babies were lost.  This count by itself broke my heart.. Then the number rose to seven, eight, and soon nine.  Just when I thought I had remembered each blogger, the number rose to 15.  15 women out there who have suffered as I have, many of those suffering on a much more horrific level.

After reaching 15, I thought of all the women I knew in real life who had lost a child.

16 . . .

17. . .

20. . .

Then the number rose to 30.

After reaching 30, I counted the friends and acquaintances of women I knew who had suffered the same tragedy at some point in their lives.

35. . .40. . . 50. 

51. . .

52. . . 

53. . .

I stopped counting after a bit, but I am fairly certain the number of women I knew or knew of had reached the 60’s or 70’s.

70 women out there who had suffered a loss so painful and horrible, there are no words to describe it.  70 women, many who are burning candles in their hearts, flames flickering wildly.

What truly is devastating is that this is merely my own count.  How many women do you know?

After I lit the candle last night, I let myself sit a few minutes to simply watch the flame.  My husband joined me.  The flame danced strongly and vibrantly.  I thought about my baby, my daughter, just as she was.  I didn’t allow myself to think of the two and a half years that preceded her conception or of the events that might come after her.

Just her.

To me, she was and always will be my angel.

After we blew out her candle, I realized how truly cold the world is without her.  But, I also felt love, mixed in with a flicker of healing.

Square One

The last couple of months, I’ve refrained from writing too much.  Not that I wrote all the time, but I certainly did so more than once a month.  For me, it was simply an act of self-preservation.  Everyone does what they have to do to survive and for me that has always been finding the escape route.  Also, I tried not to add negativity to those who already struggle and not remind those of who have escaped the trenches of where they had been.

This is the hard part.  This is the part that kills me.

I knew, for a very short time, what it was like to escape those trenches.  However, I do not know this feeling any longer.

A few short weeks ago, I got my first ever positive pregnancy test.  Out of nowhere.  100% natural conception.  Of course I didn’t believe it, because, hey this is me we are talking about–the poster child for unexplained infertility.

The beta test confirmed the pregnancy test.  The 6 week ultrasound confirmed it.  My body confirmed it.

Sadly, the 8 week ultrasound did not.  My baby measured at 7 weeks, 4 days instead of 8 weeks, 2 days. There was no heartbeat.

There’s not much left for me to do.  My D & C is tomorrow morning, that is if I can manage to have a conversation with the receptionist without falling apart on the phone like I did earlier.   I’m not really sure why I’m having it done. My baby is gone; I know that.  He/she isn’t going to come back.   Mr. RE tried to offer some unfeeling, scientific, medical reason for all of this, but I didn’t hear a word he said.   Something about cell division.  Something about chromosomes.  Who knows? I guess this procedure is supposed to give us answers about what went wrong.  It really doesn’t matter because I have learned there are no answers or at least any that benefit me in any shape or form.

So there we have it.   My life.  The one that I thought couldn’t get worse, the one that I thought was getting better.  Obviously, this was originally supposed to be a post that announced good news, but once again I can only bring the bad.

I always thought that the worst thing that could happen to a woman would be what had happened to me:  waiting two and a half or more years to even create a baby.  Now I know this isn’t true.  The worst thing is waiting two and a half years to create a baby and then having that dream taken away as soon as it comes to be.

I don’t know if I’ll ever conceive again and actually I think I would be afraid to.  I proceeded through this with cautious optimism but now I can only move ahead with fear.  I wanted to be happy for this pregnancy, short-lived as it was, but I always suspected the worst in the back of my mind.  As much as I still want a child, I can’t see myself moving forward in any situation that has the potential to rip my heart into shreds.

So, I don’t know what kind of writer this will make me nor do I know what kind of supporter this will make me.  I am happy for all of your good news, even if I can’t show it and I also grieve with those who grieve.  The rest is—well, I just don’t know. I think I just need to self-preserve.