Eventful

This describes my life in the last month and a half. 

First there was the tooth crisis that is still on-going. The root canal relieved the pain for me but they weren’t able to finish the root canal in one day so I had to return a month later. I am still having soreness from this procedure I had last week.

Then there has been appointments of all kinds – doctor, hair, counseling, you name it. I saved it all for this summer and I have been busy!! 

All is well with baby girl. The 20-week ultrasound show no abnormalities. She’s measuring in the 95th percentile in weight and 4 days ahead so we may have another ultrasound to check her size in a couple of months. Due date is still set for October 23. Otherwise all is well and I’m so very thankful for this. 

Lastly, there have been ongoing issues with my in-laws. If you’ve read for a while, you’ll know there’s a history and a deep pain in my relationship with them following my miscarriage. I had made some efforts to resolve this and it was….. for a while. 

My mother-in-law didn’t seem to be very interested in this pregnancy and every comment was about how it related to her daughter’s pregnancy or the baby that was born just a week after my due date. I just want to be an individual. I moved to my husband’s hometown so he could work for the family business. When I go in public, I am always asked about my in-laws. To risk sounding selfish – it’s never about me, it’s about how I’m a part of this family that’s fairly well known in this community. I’ve fought for this pregnancy. I just wanted it to be recognized independently of any one else. So I let it get to my head and became a crazy mess (like really crazy y’all, ugly cray). Then my mother-in-law got very sick – either from her chemotherapy treatments or the cancer. She was in the hospital for a week and prior to my husband and I visiting (four days time), I hadn’t contacted her because 1) she was sick and 2) I don’t know the proper etiquette of texting or calling someone in the hospital. Well this was noticed by my father-in-law and I was given an ultimatum to contact her. This was actually after I had contacted her to see if she needed anything from her home, as we were headed to visit her that same day. So I became very emotional again. But I still went and realized the situation with her health was much more severe than my husband had lead me to believe. She slowly recovered and is now at home, preparing for another round of chemotherapy. 

Amazingly and fortunately, I had scheduled a counseling session for the next day after we visited. I had done this because I was still struggling with my fears and anxiety about this pregnancy, approaching the one year mark since my miscarriage, and the emotional episodes I was having due to my in-laws. Thank GOD I had this appointment. There are no words to describe how much of an impact this hour of my life has made on me and my healing in the last two weeks.

I filled her in and we talked about my expectations and how I act in certain ways with strings attached to these actions, expecting that his family will respond in a certain way. (Inviting his mother to our elective ultrasound was a big step in me mending our relationship. She didn’t go therefore I felt like she didn’t care.) And we spoke about my feelings of rejection due to their lack of support following my miscarriage. “Did they really reject you? Or is this something that you’ve made up in your mind?” Hmmmmm I had never thought of it that way. It had always been black and white – they had rejected and abandoned me when I needed them the most. But were they ever even capable and equipped for what I needed? I’m not excusing them from everything but I do think my feelings of rejected were self-perpetuated. They do care for me – they just show it in different ways than I show care for others (I get very nice gifts but not so much on the emotional front). So she talked with me about behaving in a way in which I have no strings attached to these behaviors. Do it because I want to and because that’s the kind of person I am. And because I want to do it for my marriage. These people are his family after all. 

So since this session, the healing has been amazing. I have been active in the family and I always keep in mind that I am doing it for myself. And I’ve taken the power away from them. It’s all about me and my choices. And I’ve chosen to be supportive for my mother-in-law. I’ve chosen to interact with my sister-in-law when she’s visited. I’ve chosen to hold my niece and begin bonding with her. She’s becoming a person to me. Not just a baby born a week after my due date. And I feel extremely peaceful and happy but most of all proud. 

I honestly never thought I’d get to this point. I thought I would never recover in my relationship with my in-laws and that it would always affect my marriage and my children. I didn’t want to be that person. And I’ve found resolution in a way that I will not be that person. 

Thank You

First, I just want to thank everyone who offered advice and support as I faced a difficult situation with my in-law’s. I did attend the funeral and I did hold the baby. It was my choice. My sister-in-law was sensitive (I think). She asked if I wanted to hold the baby but said I didn’t have to. At first I didn’t want to but eventually I did and I was able to do this on my own time. The baby wasn’t forced upon me and I feel like the family was carefully watching my moves. I know that they love me and care about me. They just don’t know how to deal with this situation. I don’t know if I would either. But I still need to have some boundaries and figure out what’s best for me. There hasn’t been any contact with my sister-in-law since the funeral but this is normal and part of my issues with her. My mother-in-law is wanting to sew for our baby. At first, when I was bitter and angry, I wanted to decline but I know she’s doing this because she cares so I am slowly letting her in again. It’s progress, even if it slow. 

It was so hard not to wonder “what if I hadn’t lost my baby” when holding her baby. But I knew I couldn’t go there. I hope I can continue to grow and move past this because I love children and I really want to be a positive part of her life. 

Another thing, apparently my mother-in-law had told her family and friends about my pregnancy. I was asked about it by many people. And I felt like a fraud. I don’t want to offend anyone or make anyone think I am taking this pregnancy for granted. (I will write another blog post about this.) But as people were congratulating me and asking me questions, I felt like a fraud and I wanted to crawl in a hole. It is still early and anything could happen. I felt like I couldn’t go along acting like this was happening because it could all be taken away in an instant. And again, I felt like an awful person. I tried to be gracious and my husband recognized my distress so he compensated by sharing details when I couldn’t without tearing up.

Miscarriage robbed me of this. Of being able to be excited when someone congratulates me. Of fully engaging in the pregnancy without always being fearful of another loss. I know this is normal and part of the process and my grief. But it sucks. 

Forgiveness

Forgiving has never been my strong point. I hate this about myself. I will give all of my love and support to a person until they hurt me. And then I’m done. I’ve ended friendships because of this. It is something I want to change about myself. Especially now.

I’ve written a few times about the situation with my in laws. Short story. Sister-in-law announced her pregnancy the day I miscarried. They did not know. Following my miscarriage, I received relatively little support from my in laws. (Ex. I sent a text to my sister-in-law about my miscarriage. She didn’t reply for 4 days and when she did, she used a pregnancy symptom as an excuse to for replying sooner.) For the 8 years prior to this, I’ve felt like a part of the family and I’ve supported all members of my husband’s family in many ways. (Sitting through chemo treatments, sending care packages to Afghanistan, taking care of things at home when they were away, making a point to drive 5 hours to see my sister-in-law when my husband couldn’t have cared less.) I don’t regret any of this because it’s who I am and I thought of them as family. Well the let down from the lack of support following my miscarriage was epic. I felt like my self-worth tanked because I must have not been important enough for these people to support me. I felt like an outsider, no longer a part of the family.

Part of the problem was my expectations. I am a very emotional person. I feel strongly for others and go out of my way to make others feel comfortable. This is not how my in laws operate. They are emotionally distant. They have a hard time with difficult situations. I expected them to do something they really aren’t capable of. Since I’ve been in the picture, I’ve been that bridge between them. I usually know what’s going on with my mother-in-law’s cancer treatment before her children do. I have to encourage my husband to make time for his family. 

So following the let down, I then began to avoid them and after a couple of months of this, it finally caught up to my marriage. In January, I sat down and talked with my sister-in-law and mother-in-law. They both expressed their apologies. And I expressed to them why I was hurt and how deep it was. I thought it would get better. I thought they would show care and concern. I thought they would show support. But it hasn’t happened. It is the same as it was before. Me being let down. 

Now I know some people might judge me for the things I’m about to type but please know, I realize some of this is irrational and I wish I felt differently. 

Well my sister-in-law had her baby the week after my due date. I tried to prepare myself. Tell myself this is all going to work out the way it should. That I would be a good aunt and I need to embrace this kid. Now that they are here for the weekend, I have no interest in meeting the kid or giving any of them my support. What is wrong with me? Who doesn’t want to meet a baby? It isn’t the kid’s fault that this family can’t support me and that it the timing was tough for me. 

What makes me feel like even less of a person is that my husband’s grandmother passed away this week and this is why they are in town. I feel like this is selfish of me to make it about myself. I need to just suck it up and deal with it. But I can’t. I am going away to a friend’s 2 hours away tonight so I’m removed from the situation. I will attend the funeral but other than that, I feel compelled to make myself unavailable. 

I need some advice, perspective, scripture…. something. I need help. I can see this ruining my marriage. And I don’t want people to look back in 5 years and remember me as an awful person. 

One Giant Leap and Positive OPK

I don’t know if I’ve expressed on this blog how the issues with my husband’s family were weighing on me and affecting my marriage. I got some good advice over the weekend which made me decide that I needed to move forward on this. It was such good advice that I’m going to share it here. This was from a wife of one of my husband’s friends. We have never really had much in common and it’s always been superficial conversations between us. But this weekend we went to visit and I think it was a God-send that we did. Here are the high points:

  • I can’t control the sperm count, I can’t control my fertility and uterus but I can control the stress that this conflict has been causing both me and my husband. Not to mention my marriage. 
  • While they are totally wrong and should be the ones to make the big or first move, I have to be the bigger person because they aren’t emotionally equipped to handle these types of situations. I shouldn’t have to but I’m stronger in this area that I can do it. 
  • Maybe I was put in this family to help them become better at dealing with these issues and also to bridge the gap that their lack of communication creates in the family. (ie. My husband didn’t know his did was having surgery until the day before. His mom thought he was mad and then his dad told him. etc) And maybe I was put in this family to become stronger.

I know you can spin a situation however you want to but these were really eye opening for me. So I took a GIANT, GIANT step and I had a talk with my sister-in-law. We spoke about my issues with her and both of our feelings about her pregnancy occurring close to my miscarriage (She didn’t want to be a reminder of what I lost and I didn’t want to be a reminder of what could go wrong). She agreed that she should have been more supportive and genuinely seemed remorseful. I felt validated and supported. She was interested in our infertility journey and my grief. I told her what I need from her and she agreed to word towards this. I also agreed to discussed my issues with her at the time rather than isolate myself. I gave her a gift for my niece. 

It’s like a weight has been lifted. I was brave despite being scared. I was strong despite feeling weak. I was the bigger person and it paid off. And I can already tell my husband is feeling less stressed. I’m not going to lie and say there won’t be hard times as I try to support her during the remainder of her pregnancy but I’m going to at least try and not isolate myself. 

And we had a clearly obvious positive OPK and a possible temperature shift. We decided to keep on trying and hoping and praying for the best. If not, we have answers that we can continue to work on.

Insomnia Thoughts

So last night sleep was not happening. I don’t often have problems with insomnia but when I do it’s pretty much no sleep for the night. Once I realize it’s taking longer than usual to fall asleep, it seems like my mind starts racing. And racing it was last night. Miscarriage. Fertility or should I say infertility. Family. Future. Garden. Work. All of this racing through my mind. 

I will have a whole other post for my thoughts on miscarriage.

Infertility – Why is this even a thing? Why can’t it be easy for us like it is everyone else? I just want to be a momma, I never thought it’d be this hard. I understand how this statement might be perceived by some but I’m gonna type it anyway. After going through a miscarriage and infertility, I KNOW that when I eventually do become a momma, it will be an experience I will appreciate at a level that I would not have if I hadn’t gone through all of this. I will love my baby like I wouldn’t have been able to before. I know people who haven’t gone through this love and appreciate their children but motherhood following miscarriage and infertility will be different. I will not take it for granted. I will thank God for the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

Family – Even though things have been much better since I went to the in-law’s Christmas, I still can’t open myself up to these people. I find myself thinking, “If they couldn’t be there for me and support me during my darkest days, then why should they get to celebrate the good days.” I understand this is my husband’s family but the wound is deep and still healing. If I were to become pregnant this cycle, I don’t know that I would want them involved. Any advice or words of wisdom? Also, I went shopping for my sister-in-law’s baby shower. I won’t be attending the shower but I did want to give her a gift. I got a set of 5 onesies that are adorable. It was really hard to shop in the baby section…..

Future – Will I ever be a mom? I it isn’t work out, where does that leave me? What happens? If I do get pregnant and have a healthy baby, will getting pregnant again be this hard? I don’t know how much of this I can handle!

Garden – With the summer off, I’m planning things to keep me busy. The original plan was I’d be with the baby all summer but we know how that worked out. I am planning two raised beds with plenty of veggies. My husband and I will be ordering the seeds tonight!!

Work – Work is going great. Couldn’t ask for better. So here’s my Silver Lining. I’m extremely lucky to be employed and to do something I love. Work with children!

Note to self….

If you want to have internet that works all the time, don’t marry a farmer and move to the boonies!!!!!

This is the first chance I’ve had to post in a while and a lot of happened. 

The trip to my mom’s was good. It was nice to relax and be with my family. I told my mom about the miscarriage and some of the trials I’ve faced in the last 6 months. She wasn’t upset I hadn’t told her yet; she understood it was something I didn’t want to talk about over the phone. She encouraged me to make an appearance to the in-laws but also encouraged me to take care of myself. 

The anxiety I felt leading up to Christmas at the in-law’s was like no anxiety I’ve ever had before. I let it take me over. I was sick. But I put on my amour and faced it. And it was the best decision I could have made. Even though it was very stressful (a few heart palpitations from a full blown panic attack), it was good for me to face it. I had some hot tea and had sprayed a tissue with a calming scent and practiced deep breathing. My husband had given them a heads up that I wouldn’t do well with too much baby talk and they were extremely respectful of this. I wish pregnancy wasn’t a trigger for me but unfortunately it is. I did have small talk with my sister-in-law and it wasn’t too bad. I text her afterwards and thanked her for being sensitive to my triggers and she said she was sorry I had to go through this. It was a big step. I did tell her I won’t be going to her baby shower but that I had a gift for my niece and would like to give it to her privately. She was understanding. 

Since I faced this, my anxiety has been 100% better. I feel stronger. I feel like I’ve progressed significantly in just a few days time. And with this and other things, I’m beginning to feel like my miscarriage is in my past (but obviously still an important part of who I am now) and not like I’m living it every day. 

Positively has taken over again and I am happy. I hope that all of you were able to find peace and strength through the holidays. 

Tis the Season…

I’m not quite to CD 1 but I know it’s coming. But at least I ovulated this cycle. I am hoping it will come in time for me to get the blood work done before leaving for Alabama.

Things have been stressful. I posted a while back about struggles with my in-laws. My sister-in-law announced her pregnancy the day I found out I was miscarrying. I needed my space to disconnect the two events. When I eventually reached out to her, I did not receive a response for more than 4 days and the excuse was a pregnancy symptom. I was extremely hurt and it was really the last straw with her. She’s the kind of person that gets a kick out of making others uncomfortable and she’s done things since I’ve known her that were hurtful but I didn’t say anything in order to keep the peace. This was too much for me and since then I’ve distanced myself from my husband’s family. There are so many other complicated issues but overall I felt I was part of this family and I did not feel supported as a family member during my worst time.

So here we are, in the holidays and it’s bound to cause stress. We will be traveling to my mother’s for Christmas; I can’t remember the last Christmas I had with my mom and with my time off, it was perfect timing for us to go see her. So Christmas at my in-law’s has been changed to accomadate us and is scheduled for New Year’s Eve. My initial reaction was to not go. I am not ready to face these people who hurt me so much. But as emotions have died down, I think I might go (depending on how the day goes) and pray I’m not a bawling mess. This has been, by far, one of the most difficult situations I’ve ever had to deal with. 

Overall, I’m doing okay. I wish this had been our cycle but I’ll move on to the next one. I feel like a positive pregnancy test is like a four leaf clover. Something I saw once and something I’ll probably never see again. But I hope I do. 

We Have A Record!!

So I went a whole week without crying! WOOHOO! Not that I’m not still sad and grieving, it just isn’t completely consuming my life. So that is my silver lining. Now I’m gonna get real. 

My week-long record was broken by some family drama. But I’ve set my limits and this has helped so much. The drama basically revolves around the fact that I have supported my in-laws in every way possible for the more than 8 years I’ve been with my husband. There have been things along the way that bothered me but I just saw past it in order to keep the peace. Well I got very little support from them after the miscarriage and it’s even more complicated by the fact that I got a text that my sister-in-law was pregnant hours after my doctor confirmed my miscarriage. No one knew at that time because my husband wanted to wait to tell everyone so this is not an issue on their end, even though the timing was terrible and was a connection I had to work through. (But isn’t every mention of pregnancy kind of a kick to the gut? Dang it!) Anyway, I worked through it and was able to open communication about the issue with my sister-in-law. I sent a text. I got no reply until more than 4 days later. And that text contained an excuse that she was vomiting and that’s why she didn’t reply. Who uses a pregnancy symptom as an excuse not to reply to my text about my miscarriage for four days? So that’s where my limits come in to play. I’ve been able to deal with things in the past but this is not something I can overlook. I have decided that right now, due to finishing school and continuing to try to get pregnant, that I don’t need any added stress. I feel like I’m not worth enough for them to support when I needed it the most and that hurts more than anything. So I have requested space and am carrying on with my days not focusing on this. I have been doing much better since but the holidays bring about a whole set of issues with this. We are visiting my mother in Alabama for Christmas so this helps but Thanksgiving will likely be stressful. It’s too bad that sometimes family issues cause the holidays to be a source of stress. 

Anyway, the continued silver lining is that my husband is standing by my side. I have not kept him from interacting with his family, as I would never do that but he is standing by my decision to have space and continue through my grief without added stress. I wish I never had to face these situations but like the counselor said, miscarriage and grief is now a part of me and these are the things that come with it. “There are pages where it hurts to look…” This is a song lyric I often think about. Hopefully this time is only a couple pages out of my book.