So maybe I am crazy after all…

So I came across this interesting piece of information today: “From a mental health point of view, up to 1 in 5 women who experience miscarriage have anxiety levels similar to people attending psychiatric outpatient services, and up to a third of women attending specialist clinics as a result of miscarriage are clinically depressed”  I thought this was very interesting because over the past 2 years I have found myself so much more anxious over many things that have nothing to do with miscarriage or infertility.  I find myself up in the middle of the night thinking about the most random crap and wondering why I am worrying about it so much and at 2 o’clock in the morning!

A fellow fertility friend of mine told me about her friend who wrote his thesis statement on couples going through infertility treatments and asked her how she didn’t go f***ing nuts!  And it is true…how do we not go crazy??  Or maybe we are crazy but God forbid should someone point that out because they might get punched in the face.

I often times think I might be just a little crazy for continuing on this journey after everything I have been through.  Who else in their right mind would willingly keep getting pregnant after so many losses or  pump themselves full of hormones and go through torturous procedures just to get pregnant?   Over and over gain no less!

The worst part about all of this is that miscarriage and infertility are such taboo subjects that no one really talks about.  So many of us are just suffering in silence.  I am very fortunate to have found a therapist that specializes in working with woman going through infertility and miscarriage and have also found a really great support group through Resolve.  I also have a great network of friends who have gone through similar struggles but I wouldn’t have found these people unless I started talking about it.

When I think back to those statistics I read today, it made me realize just how deep this effects us from a mental health stand point.  It also makes me very sad for all of those who are going through this on their own without a support system.  I know first hand the levels of anxiety associated with miscarriage and the levels of grief and depression that one goes through when suffering from a miscarriage and no one should go it alone.  One of the reasons I started this blog was to connect with others and if I was able to reach even just one person and make them feel like they are not alone than that will be one less person out there suffering all alone.  I remember how relieved I felt when I talked to someone about my struggles for the first time because I knew that I wasn’t alone and that everything I felt was normal.  IF you are going through this alone, I encourage you to find others to talk with and find a support group or therapist who can help.  You wouldn’t tell someone who was going through a major depression to just buck up and get over it right?  As I wrote earlier, the Resolve website is a great resource and can help you find a support group in your area.  Also the Psychology Today website is a website you can use to help find a therapist in your area.

I say if they really want to punish people in prison…put them through infertility treatments.  Pump them up real good with hormones and then make them think they are getting out in two weeks and then when their two week wait is over let them know they are not in fact getting out of prison or give them hopeful updates every 2-3 days and then tell them 8 weeks later they are not getting out.  And then just keep doing this over and over again.  I bet our crime rates would go way down!

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Vacation

We just got back from our family vacation to the Outer Banks.  We went with my sister and brother’s families as well as my husband and 2 stepdaughters.  During my trip, I had many “baby” moments as were were traveling with seven children ranging in ages 2 to 16.  But I noticed as the week went on that that my thoughts weren’t completely focused on NOT being a mom.  Of course I had the occasional “what would it be like if I were here with my baby?” thoughts but more so  I felt enjoyment by spending time with other people’s children.  This is something I haven’t truly felt in a long time.  I have spent a lot of time avoiding other people’s children because of my own fears and jealousy.  It’s not something I am proud of but part of the process I guess.

For the first time in a very long time, I didn’t feel jealousy towards my sister and sister-in-law for having something that I don’t but rather just enjoyed being Aunt Renee again.  I also read a post from Justine from Ever Upward that reminded me that I am a mother to many people in my life.  And while I may not have my own child, it was a reminder to me that I do have lots of children that I enjoy in my life.

Here are a few of them:

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August 17th

Sadly today was the due date and now would be first birthday of my second little angel.  I don’t really have much from that pregnancy other than 4 weeks of watching a sac grow with nothing in it as it turned out to be a blighted ovum.  But to me, it was much more than that…it was a little boy or a little girl.  It was my baby that I was going to love and watch grow up.  It was a hope and a promise of a new life.

For those of us who have suffered miscarriages, we always seem to hold some sort of “dates” in our minds as this is really all we have to remember our little angels.   It’s a different kind of loss because there was no “person” to grieve but the dream of a little boy or girl and yet we still process it as a loss of a person.  Our little person.  I always find these dates to be the hardest and the days leading up to them full of dread and sorrow.  But for me I also feel it is important to remember those dates and honor our little ones in some way.

Thank you for letting me honor my little August 17th person<3

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A fellow blogger at My Perfect Breakdown also did a post on “Honoring Our Dates” if you want to check her post out as well!

I Just Knew…

Two years ago I got pregnant with my first little one.  I was so happy and excited.  I downloaded the What to Expect App on my phone so I could track my progress.  I signed up for updates and emails from The Bump.  I even went as far as to purchase one of those maternity belly bands because my pants were getting tight.  We made announcements to our family and very close friends because you know that’s what people do when they get pregnant right?  They tell everyone!

It was also around this time 2 years ago almost to the exact day that I just knew something was wrong.  It was 2 weeks before we were leaving for vacation and I was getting ready for bed when all of a sudden I had this very strange feeling.  To this day I will never forget that feeling and it is hard to explain but I will try.  I felt like everything got really quiet, not just in my house but even my body got real quiet. It was like everything just stopped.  Then I just had this strange thought in my head saying “it’s gone, it’s over”.  And then just like that things weren’t quiet anymore.  It was such a strange, almost surreal feeling.

I quickly googled signs and symptoms of miscarriage and went down the list to see if I had any of them.  The most common: cramps…not one, bleeding…not a drop, back pain…nope.  I had none of the signs.  My boobs were still incredibly sore and I was feeling exhausted so my pregnancy symptoms were still there.  So I proceeded on and went on vacation the following but I still kept thinking about that feeling and couldn’t get the feeling that something wasn’t right out of my mind.

The week we came back from vacation, we had an ultrasound scheduled at 9 weeks…not because there was anything wrong but we had the opportunity to go early so we went.  We went to the hospital rather than my OB-GYN since it was technically a diagnostic ultrasound due to it being so early.  We were so eager and couldn’t wait to see our baby however the ultrasound technician made it very clear that she was NOT discussing anything with us and that she would just take the pictures and give it to the radiologist.  I would have to get the results from my doctor.  I thought maybe this was just a formality and she was surely going to show us our baby.  But no she did not…she took those pictures, told me to get dressed and that I would have the results from my doctor in 2 hours.  I remember I kept thinking “what results?”  It’s a picture of a human baby not an alien right??

At this time I noticed my husband was sitting very quiet.  I asked him if ge could see anything and he nodded yes but didn’t say anything.  So I said “well what did you see?!”  He told me that he saw a sac but no flicker on the screen which he remembered from his 2 daughters ultrasounds that he saw a flicker for the heartbeat but that maybe it was too early.  He saw I was getting upset and then apologized and told me he was probably wrong and not to pay any attention to what he said.  I tried to tell myself that yes my husband is dumb and has no clue what he saw or is talking about but I thought of that night before vacation and that awful feeling and I just knew.

A couple of hours later, the doctor called and told us that the ultrasound showed a fetal pole measuring about 6 weeks with no heartbeat and that I was supposed to be 9 weeks so this was not a viable pregnancy.  I just remember I kept saying that I had NO symptoms and maybe my dates were wrong and that’s when I learned a new term: missed miscarriage (A missed miscarriage is when the baby stops developing but you don’t experience any miscarriage symptoms and your body still thinks you are pregnant).  He advised me to come in the next day to the office to have an exam and go over my “options”.

We were in shock.  Everyone was calling and texting us asking how it went because you know we told everyone and now we had to untell everyone that there was no baby.  The next day we went to my Ob-gyn office and saw another doctor (I go to a large practice so I see a different person every time).  She examined me and went over our ultrasound results and then said that she thought it might be possible that maybe I am not as far a long as I thought and maybe I really am only 6 weeks which could be early to see a heartbeat.  She didn’t want to get our hopes up but wanted to make sure that it was not a viable pregnancy before we made any decisions.  I loved her…she was so bright and optimistic even though she looked twelve.  I didn’t care how old she was because on that day she was the best doctor in the world until she called 2 days later to tell me that my hcg level showed it was dropping.  And then the following week when we went for the follow up ultrasound and everything was exactly the same as the week before…no heartbeat…no baby.  We were devastated all over again and once again I kept thinking about that night before vacation which would have been around 6 weeks and how I just knew.

This was also the night before my first day of school which as a teacher I didn’t have time to have a miscarriage let alone miss the first day of school!  I can’t even tell you how I got through that first day with my second graders or really that week before of setting up my classroom and getting ready to start the year or the weeks that followed for that matter.  I had my appointment for my D&E the next day which was the 2nd day of school and luckily on a Friday.

When I think back on that time 2 years ago, I feel so many things.  Obviously sadness and pain but also a little jealous of my first pregnancy self.  I got to experience what it was like to get pregnant and be genuinely happy and excited rather than worry about how long this one is going to last or worry every day what the results are going to be at each appointment.  I am grateful that I got to experience all of that even though deep down, maybe even mother’s intuition…I just knew.

Recurrent Pregnancy Loss AKA RPL

I have recently stumbled across some fellow RPL (Recurrent Pregnancy Loss- defined by having 2 or more consecutive miscarriages) Bloggers and have been interested in reading how others are dealing with this and what their plans are for moving forward.   RPL presents a unique challenge in the infertility world because you are able to get pregnant and usually without much effort which is a contradiction to the definition of infertility and not being able to get pregnant.  The problem with us RPL’ers is  we don’t seem to be able to STAY pregnant.

I have found others, like myself, are also usually diagnosed with Poor Ovarian Reserve or Diminished Ovarian Reserve…is there really even a difference??  They both suck!  And Poor Egg Quality as the most likely cause for the miscarriages.  So the difficulty really comes down to getting pregnant with a “good egg”.  For me this is what keeps me holding on and hoping that one day I will get pregnant with that one good egg and stay pregnant.  It also baffles me as to how I could have managed to get pregnant in the first place let alone five times if my “reserve” is so diminished and poor.  I often joke with Dr. F that I am probably one of his most fertile infertility patient.  Imagine how many babies I could have had in my twenties or early thirties?!

I was speaking to a former infertile who had trouble conceiving but did eventually go on to have children. She said she was always so jealous of those who were able to at least get pregnant even if it didn’t last.  I thought just the opposite…why bother to get pregnant if it’s just going to end.  I guess it’s both a blessing and a curse?  Sometimes I wish I didn’t get pregnant at all but then I think of my little angels and know that they do have a purpose even if  I was just meant to be a mom to them for a short time.

The fact that I am able to get pregnant is one of the main reasons I am still so hesitant about moving onto IVF.  Why would I want to put my body through all of that when I can do it on my own with what could be the same results?  The benefit I guess would be that we would have a better idea which embryos would be more viable if any especially if we did CCES (comprehensive chromosomal embryo screening).  I still struggle with that part too…the knowledge of knowing which embryos are viable and which are not is so incredible but at the same time is that tampering with nature and God’s plan too much?  These are just my own personal thoughts and certainly don’t want to judge those who have or had gone through embryo testing.  In fact, I would be curious to know for those of you who have had embryo testing…was this decision a struggle for you?  If so, what made you decide to just go for it?

I never thought I would be here at 5 losses…one was devastating enough, then two was just heartbreaking, and so on.  I often wonder how many more I will have to go through or will my body just eventually say enough and I will stop getting pregnant?  But when I read the success stories of those that have suffered multiple losses too and then have gone on to have their rainbow babies it gives me hope and strength to keep on going.  I keep telling myself it only takes one.

For all of my fellow miscarriage survivors:

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Here are a few other RPL bloggers you may want to check out: My Hope Jar  Project Sweet Pea and My Perfect Breakdown