Wednesday, December 31, 2014

holiday gifts

As the year winds down to a close, I have been finding it difficult to post.  I've spent these last few months focused on trying to heal, to be a less broken soul.  The holidays whizzed by in our house, and the silence concerning my last loss was deafening.  I truly understand that it is not out of cruelty that so many of my loved ones can't utter any words when it concerns my lost baby (girl). For some reason we mere humans are not equipped with the vocabulary to discuss these things.

A quick trip to NYC with Niblet to see my parents a few days ago produced the opposite results in some respect.  While they lack the words, it was clear that this most traumatizing loss was front and center in their interactions with me. And while they were being equally kind, they too sort of stumbled around the topic, treating me (unintentionally) like a soul to be pitied.  I suppose I am.  But that inadvertent acknowledgement of loss was nearly as painful as the deafening silence.

Don't even get me started on when Niblet handed me a book to read in front of my mother about a little boy anxiously awaiting his baby brother.   Or when my dad played baby videos of her on his ipad, and it became so stark, the realization that these could be the only and last baby videos ever captured for our little family.  Niblet is in kindergarten now, and my days of mothering an infant are over.  That's a heavy weight.

I spent a grateful hour in therapy a few days before Christmas, voicing what no one around me will - or can - voice.  Between these sessions (not covered by insurance unfortunately, so a gift to myself) and a gift of my husband (a certificate to my favorite consignment shop, where I can while away the hours looking for vintage cashmere, my weakness) I am shooting for some sanity.

I have diligently been trying to follow the instructions of Dr. K, imagining my life with only Niblet.  While it's a bittersweet way to live, it is probably a healthier way to live.  We are "NTNP" in the justonemore household - "Not trying not preventing" when it comes to procreation (though I am sort of mindful when I ovulate).  Some mornings I wake up utterly petrified at the thought of pregnancy.  Other mornings I wake up sad that this chapter of my life may come to such a brutal close.

But enough of my maudlin ramblings.  To my readers who have had a similarly rough year, it is coming to an end.  I offer no resolutions, no forced cheer.  What I have learned is that the morning of January 1st will be a new dawn like any other, and in that respect, a gift. I offer only the most sincere wishes for Peace and the hopes for gentler days ahead.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


You know when your husband leaves the house and you say goodbye, and you're then wracked with fear that he's going to get rear-ended by a semi on the highway and that peck on his cheek will be the last kiss you ever give him? How about fears that someone will slam into the passenger side of your car and kill your child while she's munching on cheddar bunnies in the back seat.  Or what if she's hit by a careless speeding driver next to her house while she's playing in the front yard. Or perhaps your number's up and you'll be hit by random gunfire while walking down the street, leaving your kindergarten-aged daughter motherless.

These aren't the sick thoughts that flash through your brains, say, every day?  Just me?

I've mentioned before that I have always been on the neurotic side, but honestly, this is getting debilitating and exhausting.

The only "comforting" piece of information in this:  I am not alone.  A quick survey on one of my support boards found a tribe of women who are also struggling with seemingly irrational fears of death and destruction.  The world around us is frightening and violent and clearly out for vengeance on us and our loved ones. My heart aches thinking about anyone else who is living this way, but at least I am not completely on the train to crazy town. There is reason why my brain is firing on these awful cylinders. The trauma runs deep.

Friday, December 12, 2014

They didn't get the fucking memo

Dear Insurance Company,

It's rather easy to point out the ways in which you make our lives harder.  Haggling over ultrasounds, over blood labs.  That's your raison d'etre after all.

But you should also know you are awful.  Just awful.

My baby won't thank me for filling out your fucking survey.  Should I go online to let you know that I have a feeling that "something isn't right?"

My baby is dead.  This is the fourth one in a row.  You couldn't figure that out from my medical files?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"My wish for you"

"My wish for you is not about money or wealth.  I wish for you to be just like that old woman who lived in a shoe like that nursery rhyme.  So that when your husband would come home, he would be tripping over children.  You are such a mom.  You have so much love.  I believe that you will have another baby to love and raise.  I believe in miracles."

Well that was an unexpected moment in my day.

You see, those words were spoken by a friend at work who knew about two (possibly three) of my losses.  But she did not know about my last baby lost in October until I informed her after she spoke those spontaneous words.  I say spontaneous, because they were just that.  A different colleague had brought her 3 year old to the office, and after a staff meeting I heard her cry and ran over to her.  And her noticing that sprint across the room prompted the soliloquy above from my friend.

It's funny.  Just this morning, Niblet decided to go all drama queen on me and tell me what an awful mom I was (because I had woken her up for school, and was forcing her to actually get dressed, poor baby).  So I won't let my friend's wishes go to my head, the miraculous Niblet will always keep me in check.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A date in time

Today would have marked the estimated due date of miscarried baby #3.  We will never know whether this one was a he or she, though somehow, I suspect it was a boy.

Many members of this sad sisterhood have bought themselves tokens of remembrance for their lost babies.  I joined them during my holiday weekend in NYC when I found this trinket.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

'Tis the Season

I was recently commiserating with a friend about the Holidays.  Holidays are a fucking minefield for survivors of infant loss and RPL.  Holidays in the wake of a loss are hell.

All of my family members are incredibly supportive, but some of them....well, as kind as they are, they take great comfort in stating aloud at the dinner table how "lucky" we are, how gratitude fills our hearts.  I will share with you this:  Having hosted Christmas dinners for a number of years now, I have come to expect those moments where I will crawl in my skin.  Where the grief of loss is too overwhelming and I excuse myself from the kitchen to take the longest shower in creation.

I don't need reminding that Niblet is a miracle.  I don't need reminding that I am incredibly lucky to be in a loving marriage with a beautiful roof over my head.

To those of you who are facing grief this season, I offer this incredible essay, which articulates the minefield better than I ever could:

"Telling me to only focus on my blessings and not what’s missing this holiday season is like telling me to forget if I had lost all my limbs. Yes, I’d still be thankful for what I had left and yes I’d also be deeply sad for what is missing."

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Lord knows I could change my tune in a year and be absolutely despondent that I didn't jump on the opportunity to do IVF....but for now, this decision to get back to living feels right to me.  It almost feels liberating.

While I will likely continue to be an emotional wreck over miscarriages and grief.... and while my OCD tendencies will likely be in full force as I continue down the road of supplementing and changing my diet to address the motherfucking gene mutation that I am absolutely convinced led to my baby's demise.... and well, there's also the whole business of religiously peeing on sticks.... I can't help but feel better about the fact that painful shots of hormones, in addition to a myriad of pokes, prods and scans are off the table (for now).

There's also another thing that makes decision easier, and it has to do with my husband.  Who, let's just say, does not want to stay wedded to his current job situation.  Its a job situation with insurance that makes IVF possible.  It's also, however, a job situation he is very unhappy in.  So I will only say this:  taking IVF off the table could have some other positive effects.

My last pregnancy, ostensibly the winner of the golden egg award - until it wasn't - was the outcome of some TLC.  Massages, yoga, dance, making my body a veritable temple to good health, all of that was on the table.  I caught a good egg once, maybe I can catch another?  Is that too much to ask?

My acupuncturist is convinced that I can.  And if I try really hard, I can almost believe that Dr. K sees it in the realm of possibility, and decidedly without drugs.

So peeps, here I am, back on square one but at least with a definite path, one that involves a fuckton of viatmins and supplements, an elimination of gluten from my diet (ugh), and being more diligent about exercise. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

The RE you want is the RE in your corner

 "Do you truly want to try again?" asked Dr. K. "Are you strong enough?"

Dr. K (with a resident RE in training in tow) was very kind this morning.  "I am guessing that if you didn't already have one child, this would be even harder for you," she continued.

It's kind of awesome, talking to a doctor who is gentle, commanding, and also in your corner.  There was no discussion of my AMA, my ancient eggs, anything to make me feel less than worthy of a baby.   Dr. K made a suggestion that I truly believe was meant from a place of kindness: "Try to imagine your life with one child.  You don't have to give up trying, but it will make the future less stressful for you if you take the pressure off."

I have been instructed not to consider IVF at the present time.  My high FSH predicts few(er) eggs would be retrieved, and it's not worth subjecting myself to the injections and pain while I am still finding myself pregnant naturally.  She WAS, however, very forceful in reiterating that my high FSH does NOT mean I cannot get pregnant (obviously, given that I was pregnant with the elusive "good egg" the month after the evil lab work that had a clinic kick me to the curb). She will not test my FSH again because she thinks it will only add to my general state of stress and despondency. 

So, my instructions were to continue trying, with higher doses of folic acid (which I will be substituting with the methylfolate version).  Dr. K will monitor my next pregnancy with as many early ultrasounds as I need to stay calm.  I suppose the best thing that could come out of a meeting with an RE after a pregnancy loss is their belief that you could end up back in their office knocked up again.  So there's that.

The biggest smile of the consultation came when I asked about my hinky tube though....

"In June I had an HSG and there was a late spill from my left tube.  I was told this significantly heightened my risk for an ectopic pregnancy."
"Bullshit" said Dr. K.  My eyebrows lifted up.
"Actually," I continued, "I was told the tube should be removed before I even consider trying to get pregnant."
"Bullshit," she repeated. "That's total bullshit.  A late spill is often the result of the apparatus not inserted correctly."  (I quickly recalled a different Dr. K jamming a catheter in me).  "Have you ever had a pregnancy that wasn't intrauterine" she said, smiling.
I grinned back.  "Well, there's one less thing I have to worry about."
"You've had enough to worry about."