friendship makes honesty harder

This post at My Life is About the Journey really hit me. I echo the sentiment 100%.   This one at Stupid Stork touched on similar things as well.

I started comments in response to both of their blogs but they got long enough I thought I would just weigh in here with my own thoughts on this pregnant infertile issue.

One of the reasons that I started blogging was that I had a story of infertility and loss and I didn’t feel like I had a place in my life to share that story in it’s un-watered down truth.  In sharing with friends and family I was always using filters and leaving out certain details or certain feelings I was having about those details.  I was doing this because I know these people, I know that some things that were my truth would hurt their feelings.  And I thought they would judge me for parts of my truth and that would hurt my feelings.  This is why I say that friendship makes honesty harder.  Knowing someone and caring about them lends to wanting to protect them and yourself.

With a blog I could put it all out there.  I could be completely honest.  This felt safe because I was writing anonymously and complete strangers were reading my words.  I kept an electronic  journal during my first battle with infertility and then during my short pregnancy and what it was like going through the loss.  This made starting a blog easy because I just took this journal, took out names and other identifying facts, and hit publish.  Everything was written before I knew anyone in this community.  It was not written to spare anyone or with any need to protect myself.  It was the most honest writing I have ever written.

Once my pre-written story was out I kept writing.  I followed other women’s blogs that were trying to get pregnant and I became invested in their stories.  I felt like I belonged to something and that I wasn’t alone.  I felt accepted for my truth.   I liked knowing these women and naturally felt a real connection to some of you.  Even the ones that I didn’t feel connected to, I felt compassion and empathy for.   I started to have some filters.  It’s important to be sensitive to everyone’s story because they are all valid.

I think we all fear that there is some sort of competition going in the who is most infertile category.  And maybe there is.  We all send messages to each other filled with support and hope and I think honest desire that those among us get pregnant.  And then silently curse our new friends when they do.  It really shouldn’t be a competition.  We all deserve to be here.  We all deserve to write our truth.

But I still filter now.  Because I have learned that so and so blogger that I love and respect has different religious beliefs than I do, or this other blogger that I relate to so much has different political beliefs than I do, or someone else who I love has been through something way worse or harder than I have.  So I write with the aim to not offend or be judged.  It’s the right thing to do because none of you should be hurt by one of us.  But it does make my writing a little watered down and my truth a little censored.

Being here and being pregnant is really hard.  My blogging has been hurt by my pregnancy because I don’t want my blogger friends to be hurt by my pregnancy.  I am afraid to talk about the joy and wonder of pregnancy because I am afraid of the unwritten comment “yeah screw you sunshine, we’re all still stuck in the hell of trying while you gloat about your baby”.   And I’m afraid to tell you all how much I truly hate being pregnant because we all know the answer to that one “You ungrateful fertile!  I would throw up every last meal for the rest of my life if it meant I was pregnant.  And I would laugh and smile about it.”   So I write less.  I hope it hurts you less.

Commenting.  Another hard one.  Now that I am pregnant I am super self conscious of my comments.  Especially to women who are still trying.  Will my comment, no matter how heartfelt, just remind you that I am pregnant and you are not?  Do you think I no longer care or understand?  Maybe it’s best to follow silently and not say anything.  But then I’m the bitch that got pregnant and left you all in the trenches.

It can be very stressful.  I don’t need my blog to be stressful.  I am pregnant, it reminds me of being pregnant before and having to end that pregnancy and have my baby ripped from me.  It scares me that I will have to go through the same thing or some new unknown horror.  Being pregnant is stressful for me, I don’t need writing about it to be stressful.  So I write less, but I still love all of you the same.  I still want to follow your stories and continue to hope the very best for you.

My yahoo reader is divided into three categories.  Pregnant or parenting bloggers (all of whom I followed through the struggle to get there), you warriors that are still trying, and then a few from column A and B that I don’t think read my blog or care one way or the other if I comment so I follow along silently.  In all honesty I don’t really enjoy finding new pregnancy blogs with my same due date, I’m not looking for mommy friends right now.  If you are pregnant and I follow you it’s because I care so much about your story and your happily ever after that I think about you even when the computer is off.   I still find myself picking up new TTCers because that is still where I relate the most, although they don’t know it since I’m a stupid fertile now.

I am happy to say that I have been able to put a lot of TTCers in the pregnant column and I am so in love with you ladies and your stories and I am convinced that blogging is the universal cure for infertility so don’t stop!

Here is another dose of honesty from me (are you still reading? this is getting long and rambly I’m afraid)  I find infertility more interesting to read and write about than pregnancy.  I think cervical mucus is more interesting than morning sickness.  I think BBT charts are more fascinating than comparing baby size to fruit.  Although the pregnants have some pretty good poop and boob stories…..  But drugs and triggers and herbs and needles are far more fascinating than prenatal vitamins and prune juice.  Once I take out all the stuff that is either going to offend the pregnant or the trying, and the stuff that I think is going to leave me shamed and judged by my internet heros, the blog posts I have left bore the crap out of me and leave me un…motivated.

That is enough outta me for one day.  But before I go here is my truth today.

I don’t actually enjoy pregnancy that much. At least not the first trimester because I feel like shit, pretty much all the time. I miss feeling good. I want to be pregnant, I will live with all of my symptoms for the chance at having a baby at the end. But I am not grateful for my morning sickness, I am not grateful for my constipation, or my huge belly that is huge because of gas not baby. Honestly, so far, pregnancy sucks, and I have extreme fear to add this time around because I have suffered a loss.  I know that I am lucky, but I’ll thank luck when my baby is home with me.

A memory

Yesterday marked one year since we terminated our first pregnancy last December for trisomy 18.  On one hand it seems crazy to me that a year has past already because I remember it as clear as if it just happened.  On the other hand it’s hard to believe it’s only been a year because it feels like I have been carrying the weight of that story for much longer.

Even though I am one trimester into another pregnancy I can’t help but think about my first one and how much I loved that baby.  It would be unfair to say that I don’t love this baby because of course I do.  But it’s a love I only allow myself to feel in small doses because I am still so scared it will be taken from me.

I did not want yesterday to pass without acknowledging our loss or our love for our first child.  We are not the kind of people to make a large memorial or have an annual ceremony.  We are more the type of people to hold our memory in our heart and not let it out.   But yesterday as we were putting up our first Christmas tree together and decorating our house for the winter holidays I was singing one minute and crying the next.

I am so happy to be carrying a precious new little baby, but I can’t help but be reminded of the fact that this should be baby’s first Christmas.  I can’t help but remember the sorrow of last year at this time.   So I am doing the best I can.  I am feeling my joy when it is there and making room for my pain when it needs it.  Cloudy is being good about trying to keep up and trying to know if I need a hug or a minute to myself.

In order to have our first baby with us this holiday season we lit a special candle and said some loving words.  It will stay on our fireplace alongside the other decorations and will be lit as a way to keep our family whole.

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We still have not received the results of our MaterniT21 test and I am going bonkers.  I thought perhaps my not-so-on-it doctor’s office may have heard something so I called last Friday to remind them that I want to know maybe a little sooner than just whenever they get around to it.  I of course,  had to leave a message.  So I will call again today.  It is possible that they have not heard anything and that they will call as soon as they know.   It is also possible that our results are sitting in a unopened envelope on a desk somewhere just hanging out.    Motherhood takes more patience than I could’ve ever imagined.

October 15th

I am sad to say that I know that today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Many of you probably know this as well. I am pretty sure none of my friends in my life even know about this day or that it is today. But here I am, in the terribly unfortunate group of women that know about this day and meet it with a heavy heart.

My loss is something that I shared on this blog and shared with most of my friends and family in real life. With some people I shared because I had to, they knew I was pregnant and I had to explain that that didn’t mean I was having a baby, and in fact I wasn’t. But with you all I shared because I wanted to, because I needed to, because I needed a bigger place to keep my sorrow than inside my own heart.

I shared my story with a group of strangers that also have a story to tell. The most amazing thing blossomed out of that. In my nightmare I was met with love and compassion and empathy and support.

I don’t talk about my loss very much anymore. I don’t write about it very often either. I made different choices than a lot of women with similar stories. I did not find out the sex of my baby, or name it. I thought about getting a tattoo or making a blanket for my lost baby, but I didn’t do these things either. None of these things felt right to my husband and I. I still cry but I prefer to do it alone and not talk about it. The truth is no one really knows what to say because I don’t really know what I need to hear. I feel grateful for my grief because it is my connection to my lost baby. It is manageable now and not as overwhelming as it used to be. I lost a baby, and I am ok with being sad about that. So I am not over it but I am living with it. I’m ok.

In general I choose not to talk about my grief because it is so personal. But today I acknowledge that it is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance day. I acknowledge that I am not alone. So many women and men are living with their own stories of lost children. I am proud to know this group of people because they are some of the most amazing people I have even ever heard about. I have not read a story of another women who lost her child or her possibility of child that was not completely amazing and caring and truly filled with the love of a mother.

In honor of my own story and the stories of the amazing women of the world I will be taking some time out of my evening to remember. To remember my baby and all of yours. To acknowledge their short lives with a candle. I will meditate on the idea of you all finding a peaceful way to live with what has happened and that your broken hearts stay broken wide open to the possibilities of all that this amazing life still has to offer you.

I am sad that I know what today is, but honored to know you.

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Feeling – Blog Hop(e)

Month Two of the blog hop for the Lovely Dandelion Breeze

The idea is for this BlogHop to be a space to write about, and share, a post about what has helped you along your loss and/or infertility journey… a support service… a friend… a book… a song… a website/forum… any information… anything.

In addition to the amazing friends and family I wrote about last month I can look back now and see that there were a few other things that have helped me get through my loss.   They say that time heals everything.  I wouldn’t say I am completely healed but maybe I just need more time.  I can say that time has stopped the bleeding (literally and figuratively)  and gotten me to a place where I can breathe and believe.

The first day that I had an empty belly and not a pregnant one I wanted to fill it back up again.  I didn’t want the empty space and I didn’t want time.  I thought that I could escape the pain if I could fill the void.  This has always been my instinct when I have suffered a loss that comes with pain whether it be an old boyfriend, a job, the loss of a pet or grandparent.  I want to replace the old with the new as quickly as possible.   The instinct comes from fear, fear of knowing the loss and feeling the pain.  One thing I have learned in my short life is that my intuition, never works by fear.  It comes in cool, and calm, and assuredly.  If I can gauge when my desires are motivated by fear and when they are motivated by love and intuition I can make better choices.  When I have made choices motivated by fear I have always had to come back later and get my poor abandoned pain and heal it anyway.  I decided to wait until I got the message to make a baby from intuition rather than a fear run instinct.

So I gave the fear of feeling a place to rest with me but I did not give into it’s need to fill my aching empty womb.  I made space for my other feelings to rest too.  I just felt when I needed to.  I let tears and heartache come and rip through me.  I didn’t hold myself together.  I knew everyone around me would allow me to be a mess when it came and be quiet when it wasn’t there.  I sometimes gave into the idea that ice-cream or wine would make it better but i tried not to allow myself to fill the void completely with unhealthy things that would never make me whole.  I gave the pain a place but I tried not to hang out there often enough to let it start to feel like home.  I kept space for my laughter and joy and love and tried to visit there often as well.  I made room for the guilt and the anger and resentment but I made sure to enter that space while keeping the door open so that I could get back out.  Eventually I started taking down the walls between the feelings until I was left with what I have now, a big wide space where all of these feelings are together.  The pain and hurt and anger aren’t gone but we agree to live together with the joy and love and HOPE.  We agree to all move forward and see what is next.  It might make me a schizophrenic but at least I have peace and a sense of humor.

I can tell that the right time to try is around the bend because the fear of trying is getting louder than the fear of being empty.  My intuition is telling me to try anyway and to just give the fear it’s space.

Allowing myself to feel…..everything, has gotten me to a place of hope.

Let’s Talk About It

One thing that hit us hard about our baby’s diagnosis is that we were completely in the dark.  We knew what downs syndrome was but we didn’t know it was a trisomy or even what that was.  We were prepared to deal with anything, to raise our child as long as we could raise a child that wouldn’t have to endure insurmountable suffering.  I really thought that if I made it to the second trimester without miscarrying that we would be ok and could handle anything else that happened.

My midwife did ask if I wanted a first trimester screen or a quad screen.  When I asked what that was she told me it was to test for downs and two other syndromes that were similar but rare.  She did not say what they were or that they were fatal!  I thought I was turning down a test that would tell me I had a downs baby and I knew the information wouldn’t change my decision to have the child so I turned down the test.  She reassured my decision by saying “that’s good, most of our patients don’t.”

Now that I have had a pregnancy diagnosed and terminated for tri 18 I have looked back and gone through the gamut of what ifs.  First, I was mad that the midwife didn’t tell me more about the test or the possible outcome.  Then, I was mad at myself for not looking into the test and learning more before I turned it down.  But now I have come full circle and I still think the test results wouldn’t have been enough to end my pregnancy.  Because I didn’t know what I know now, and what I know now is that I went as far as I could.  A test telling me that I had a 1:5 chance wouldn’t have been enough, an amnio telling me for sure my baby had it wouldn’t have been enough.  I would have always wondered if somehow my baby was going to beat the odds.  It took an ultrasound and a confirmed list of problems my baby was already facing for me to make that impossibly tough call.

Partly this is just the person I am.  But part of it I think is that I had no idea.  I had no idea what trisomy 18 was or what it meant or that it even existed.  I had never heard of this terrible possibility.  We don’t talk about these kinds of things.  Even as common as miscarriage is, women don’t talk about it.  And I think it should be talked about.  I don’t think every pregnant woman should have to take a detailed, nightmare inducing class on all the things that can go wrong with a pregnancy.  But I think there should be some awareness, an honest look at what the reality is.  Just as I advocate for people to learn about their bodies and the many ways infertility can affect couples, I want to advocate for potential parents to be informed, to know what is out there.  So when they are asked if they want a particular screening or test they can reply with a yes or a no and have the confidence to feel good about their choice and not have to rely on what the stinky midwife says.

I was inspired to write this post because I was intrigued by the badge on Elizabeth’s blog.  When I clicked on it I was taken into a whole world of people that also want to get this message out.  Thanks Elizabeth!

I am the face of loss.

Blop Hop

This is a post for the Blog Hop hosted by Dandelion Breeze.

The idea is for this BlogHop to be a space to write about, and share, a post about what has helped you along your loss and/or infertility journey… a support service… a friend… a book… a song… a website/forum… any information… anything.

If you are new to this blog my husband Cloudy and I had to terminate our first pregnancy at 21 weeks due to a trisomy 18 diagnosis.   After months of struggling against irregular periods and poly cystic ovaries we felt very fortunate to have gotten pregnant with the baby we very much wanted and were ready to welcome into our family.   We thought for sure that the infertility issues were going to be the worst of our problems and that now we would move on and have our healthy little one in our arms in 9 easy months.  We were naive to think so and at 19.5 weeks we had our hearts ripped out.  At the end of the next week we went through a nightmare worse than we could ever imagine.  And now we are on the other side of tragedy with sorrow and fear in our hearts.  But also we have a lot of  hope and love to move forward and try again.

The thing that has helped me in dealing with this pain is my friends and my family, including Cloudy.  My husband, family and friends have all be so supportive and have all been there for me no matter what I have needed.  They brought us dinner, cleaned our house, took me away for a fabulous weekend, and reached out in more ways than I can list here.  I had no idea how loved I really was.  It is what held me together when I thought for sure I would fall apart.  And it is the reason I can move forward even in fear, because I know I have an army of warriors with heart behind me.

So to the people reading this that have suffered a loss I say this, let your friends be there, let people help you.  Lean in.

And to the people reading this who may know someone who is suffering from a loss my advice is this.  Show up.  Call.  Think of something specific you can do to help them and do it.  But mostly just show up and be present with whatever they are feeling.  It makes all the difference.  Lean back.

I still cry almost every day for the little person that is no longer in my life, but I can count my blessings in the number of amazing people who are in my life.

I get an email with inspirational words from Daily Om everyday and today’s just went along with this post so well I wanted to share a part of it.

The affection and support we receive from the important people in our lives forms a large part of the foundation from which we enter the world in order to discover the scope of our potential. Since we feel validated within by their approval and acknowledgment, we need not seek outside approval from people in other spheres of our lives and can instead work toward gaining a stronger sense of self-acceptance. We need never feel failure, knowing as we do that we will always have a network of strength to rely on when our plans go awry. Likewise, we are more apt to take on obligations that take us outside of our comfort zones because we know that we are loved no matter what. Since you know you are appreciated today, you will approach your worldly affairs with renewed confidence. 

People are still asking

It is so crazy to me that people are still asking me about the baby.  For several months after the end I had people coming up to me and asking how I was feeling and how everything was going.  This happened everyday!

“Hi!  How are you feeling?  How is the baby?”

“Um, I actually lost the baby”

“Oh no, I’m so sorry.  Sorry I brought it up, I feel terrible”

“No it’s ok, thank you for remembering and thinking of me, please don’t feel bad”

“You were pretty far along weren’t you?”

“Yep”

It happened at the grocery store, out to dinner, at the post office!  But usually it happened at yoga, at either a class I was taking or teaching. I had started telling all of my students only weeks before we got our bad news.  I told them to explain the belly and why I wasn’t able to demonstrate all the poses anymore.  And I told them because I care about these people and they care about me and I was excited.  Right after the end when I wasn’t able to teach for 3 weeks, the woman who was subbing for me told some of my students which was nice so that I didn’t have to tell everyone when I came back.  But some still don’t know!

It happened again as I was walking out of my class last night.  “Oh hey!  did you have your baby?”   I thought for sure everyone knew by now.  But no I had to go through it all over again!   The weird part is that they feel bad for asking and then I feel bad that they feel bad.  I mean really, it is nice that they even remembered that I was pregnant and that they care to ask.  Sometimes I get mad that I end up consoling them about it.  But mostly I just don’t know what to say.  And depending on how close I am to the person or the timing or location of the question I give a different version of the story.  Usually “I lost the baby” is all that comes out.

In fact, that is one of the reasons I decided to blog about it.  I have told the story in so many variations and dilutions that I wanted my truth written and released before I myself started believing the watered down version most people have heard.

I don’t know when it will stop and I’m sure if I do get pregnant I will be leery about telling people.  Some will probably even think it is the same pregnancy.  All I do know is that I am kind of tired of telling the story in parking lots, and produce departments, and public bathrooms.  I just want to say, Here is my baby! aren’t they beautiful!