Dear SweatAndStilletos . . .
Thanks so much for sharing your story. As I was reading parts of your story, friends came to mind who I know could relate. I know there are others who will be touched by your babies’ lives, no matter how brief.
Your thoughts on failure so relate with me. I felt as though I could have been writing those words.
Thank you again for sharing.
I’ve been wanting to write this for awhile but haven’t been able to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard as the case may be.
I’ve written about my last two miscarriages but in a different way. I’ve written more from the perspective of how I felt in the moment, the physical pain and the shock I was experiencing. Today, I’m going to write about my journey through infertility, loss and coping with the cards I’ve been dealt.
I never imagined I would have difficulty getting pregnant. I was more concerned about getting pregnant before I was ready. I also never thought having a miscarriage was possible. That’s not exactly a fair statement. I never even gave infertility or miscarrying consideration. It wasn’t something on my radar at all. Perhaps it should’ve been given some family history, but it wasn’t.
I was living blissfully in the land of “I’ll start a family when I’m ready and I’ll have two kids. Husband wants 4 but I want 2. He’ll have to figure out how to give birth to the other 2 himself.”
Now I’ve had three miscarriages. Three. Four pregnancies and three miscarriages. I’ve been told I cannot have more children. Well, actually, I can have more children but it would be a huge health risk and it could cause irreparable issues. How’s that for crappy?
I do have the option of doing more costly fertility treatments. Actually having the egg fertilized in a petri dish and then planting it in my uterus. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Even with that, there is a very slim chance my body would actually accept the egg and carry to term.
I’m often asked when we will have more children or some variation of that. It’s an innocent question and typical for society. The other day was the first time I answered with, “We can’t.”
I felt a little bad for the person asking as I could tell she felt bad and apologized. For me it was a stepping stone. I was finally able to verbally admit that I can’t.
Failure is something hard for me. It’s easy to say this isn’t failure. There’s a gazillion reasons why you would be right. But for me it is failure. My body won’t do what I want it to. It doesn’t matter what pills, exercise, food, wishing or demanding I do, my body just will not cooperate.
It’s difficult when my son asks why he can’t have a little brother or sister. He’s so good with younger kids and he’s asked for a sibling since he could talk. He’s so loving and helpful and they all look up to him. How do you explain to a 10-year-old that “it just can’t happen, that I’m truly sorry and it breaks my heart each time you ask.”
You can’t. I have to recognize his feelings and try to put it in 10-year-old terms that it’s just not something Mommy can do and that adoption isn’t something I’m ready for.
I never wanted him to be an only child. I am an only child and I long for the connection I see between siblings. It is truly something special. I didn’t want him to ever have to navigate life alone. His Dad and I will not always be here. Hopefully it is many, many years before we leave him, but someday, we will.
When my husband first wanted to try infertility treatments, I fought him on it. I always believed that if we were meant to have more kids, it would happen. That God would make it happen. We had many conversations on why we should do it and I listened to his many reasons and I agreed.
Though I agreed, I still believed that when the time was right, it would just happen. After many tears and devastating months of negative tests, I finally agreed to give it a try. It was not easy, it was a commitment, it was uncomfortable and my body still wasn’t cooperating. It didn’t produce enough even with the drugs, and neither treatment resulted in a positive result. I was continually reminded of my inabilities.
It’s so hard to let myself and my partner down month after month. It’s devastating to read a negative result on a pregnancy test month after month for years. It got to where I didn’t even want to have sex because if I wasn’t, there was no possibility of getting pregnant which meant I couldn’t let myself or my partner down. (I do not recommend this way of thinking.)
After my first miscarriage, I was destroyed. I chose not to lean on anyone and only told those that knew I was pregnant. I didn’t share much with friends and didn’t talk about my feelings. I tried to grieve alone.
I now see that as a mistake. I should have let someone be there for me. I should have let them hold me up because I could not hold myself. was broken. I buried my feeling and pulled myself up by my bootstraps and tried to not think about it. I got very depressed but kept stuffing it down. Eventually I stuffed it far enough down that it wasn’t constantly there yelling at me. It still affected me by leading to depression and other issues, but it wasn’t in my face anymore. It was behind the scenes pulling the strings.
It wasn’t until my second miscarriage that I realized how much the first had affected me. By this time, I had a couple of friends I told and tried to lean on. Neither of them had been through one and couldn’t relate. They tried to be there for me but didn’t know how. Who does? I’ve been through it and I still don’t know what to say or do except to admit it sucks and it hurts and you will get through it. You’ll never be the same, but you will survive.
After each time, I didn’t know how I would have the strength to try again. Not that we were actively trying to prevent pregnancy, but in my mind we weren’t trying to get pregnant either. I had no emotional strength left. I couldn’t keep doing this.
At some point I gave up. I don’t know when exactly it was but it happened. I fell into an acceptance that this was my life and I could be ok with it. I write more about this and my ectopic pregnancy here.
I still get emails from a site I joined when I was pregnant with my son. I updated it when I was pregnant the second time and the third time. It kindly sends me updates on my child’s birthday and information on their developmental stage. I’d go and delete my information from the site, but I just can’t bring myself to go to it. So, I just delete the emails, take a moment to reflect on my experiences and move on.
I still get a pain in my heart when I see a pregnant woman, a friend greets me with her exciting news, or a small child is near. I recognize it but don’t dwell on it. It doesn’t mean I am any less happy for them. It just means it affects me on multiple levels.
I’m still healing from my three losses and I am forever changed. I’m stronger, smarter, braver and so much more than I ever believed I could be. I’ll forever hold those three babies in my heart. I will never have a daughter to plan a wedding with, get a pedicure, and discuss her first love. What I do have is a son that lights up my world, gives the best hugs, whose laugh is contagious and is too smart for his (and my) own good.
So to you reading this, that either is or knows someone going through this type of loss, I urge you to let them know you are there.
Make them a meal, take them a coffee or cookies or anything. Be an ear or a shoulder or just a person that is there. Hand them a Kleenex and make them feel comfortable being a crying mess. They may not feel like talking or even having anyone around but knowing you are willing is huge.
You don’t have to have “the right words” just be present. Be that person that says “This sucks and I’m here for you.”