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. 

Books

Today brought good news. At 7 weeks, the baby measured 7 weeks 2 days and the heartbeat was 171 bpm. I am so very thankful. For this miracle and for all of the support I’ve gotten during this journey. Seeing that heart beating felt like the last 14 months were lifted off my shoulders. I know that we are not out of the woods. But I’m choosing to live like I’m pregnant because for today, I am.

We opened our present today! A box full of books that I received the day after my miscarriage. My husband is reading right through one of his tonight. These books represent a journey and I’m so glad that we are where we are at this moment. But there will always be an element of caution but I think this is normal? 

He Knew

I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for the last 2 1/2 weeks. Praying and hoping things that are completely out of my control are going well. I am ashamed to admit that there have been times I’ve completely convinced myself things will end as they did last pregnancy. My husband doesn’t want to talk about it much. We both are still very cautious. He went to my last counseling session with me so that we could somewhat create a plan on how to proceed in our different ways but still be there for each other. This is just as hard on him. About a week after this session, I received a card in the mail from my counselor. One side with a personal note and the other side with something I really want to share with all of you. 

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Is there any way to look at this other than she is a Godsend? All along this journey, all I’ve wanted is understanding and validation. 

“And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

This has always been one of my favorite verses in all times but especially times like these. He did not leave me. He lead me to make that phone call and schedule help for myself. He was with me. And He will continue to be with for no matter what this journey throws at me. And He knew that I needed this on the day I received this. It melts my heart. 

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WOW….. I couldn’t believe it when I read that. We have discussed a lot about my fears and reluctance to engage in a future pregnancy the way I see others engaging (stupid Facebook, we know that’s all a ruse anyway). How I feel that I’m being “cheated”. And I am trying to protect myself. I don’t think these are feelings that are uncommon in miscarriage and pregnancy after miscarriage. But it’s true, it’s become quite painful to remain in these ways. And when I let hope creep in a bit, it’s nice. I hope you are able to let hope find a place in your mind. Even if it’s just one thought or for a second. And if you are feeling like you need support, please don’t hesitate to talk to someone. Sometimes an outside perspective makes all the difference. Sometimes you need a cheerleader. 

I have my first appointment with the doctor this Thursday. There will be an ultrasound so we will have some answers. I’ll be 7 weeks at this appointment, so I’m hoping we will see a heartbeat and I’ll be able to open my present I posted about a while ago. (The books I received in the mail the day after my miscarriage.) I do have some symptoms but otherwise feel normal. I’ve already made it further in this pregnancy without complications than my last pregnancy. But the biggest comfort is knowing that I have prayers and positive thoughts from so many. 

Stronger

I’m at 7 DPO and I think my progesterone has been trying to ruin my life!!!! Not really but my mood has been down the last few days. I’ve been having “Why Days”. Why me? Why can’t it be easy? Why did we wait so long? Why can’t I just move on? Why am I allowing this to affect my marriage? But last night while watching the Biggest Loser, a contestant said something that clicked for me. They showed his story. His wife was diagnosed with cancer after two months of marriage. She basically fought cancer their entire marriage and eventually she lost her battle. He discussed how, indeed, his story has been tough but then he said, “You have to be stronger than your story.” WOW!!!! Isn’t that exactly what life is about? There probably isn’t a person out there who hasn’t faced something tough. Some of us face things that are more tough than others but we all have hardships. We all struggle. And we all rise up and are stronger than our story or whatever crappy hand we were dealt. And when you don’t think you have it, you somehow find that strength. 

I pray that my blog friends who are facing a failed IVF, IUI, or cycle or a loss (whether it was your first or 10th) can hold on through this pain. You are strong. And you will find a way to be stronger than your story. Thinking of all of you 🙂

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.

6 Months and Answers Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the semen analysis. I can’t believe I am putting such personal information out on the internet but honestly, this is less scary than putting it out in my real life. Those people don’t get it. So I am looking forward to getting answers on this end, as well as the upcoming thyroid blood work follow-up. 

But more importantly, today is the 6 month anniversary of my miscarriage. WOW 6 months, it seems like 6 freaking years. 6 freaking lifetimes. But certainly not 6 months. And I certainly did not think that this battle with infertility would ensue following the miscarriage. I’m in tears (and not pretty tears) thinking about this time between now and the event that almost broke me. 

It made me question who I am as a person. Sunk my self-esteem and confidence. Made me question my faith. My marriage. My relationships overall. My mental health. My choices. Each day dragged on while this event ravaged my life. I can say that I’ve persevered but it has been the fight of my life.

Today, 6 months after I lost my sweet baby, I am strong. I am hopeful. I am finding peace. I am faithful. I have bad days but I have a talk with God and I move forward. I pray and pray. And when I start to have doubts, I pray some more. I know that God will see me through this. I know my husband will see my through this, even when I think our marriage has been pushed to it’s limits. I now know what it’s like to face grief head on. I now know who is really there to support me. I now know that I can make it through the worst times. I am strong. I am going to get through this. And I am going to be a momma some day. 

Strength comes in many forms. For me, this is what strength looks like. Trying to smile through the tears. And having faith through the tears. 

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I hope anyone reading this is able to find their strength, no matter what it looks like. And I continue to be so very thankful for the support I’ve received over the last 6 months. Thank you 🙂

Coming Out

Something my therapist encouraged me to do was to tell people about my miscarriage. I am a fairly reserved person so I couldn’t even comprehend this at first, especially when I couldn’t even talk about it without bawling. But the more time goes by, the more I know this is me. It’s part of who I am. So I’ve started telling more people. (It doesn’t help that a lot of people in our town keep asking me about my sister-in-law. It’s so hard, because of timing, to not acknowledge my pregnancy when people want me to talk about hers.) In the last week, I’ve told 4 people. And it’s felt good. People always say how sorry they are and I don’t know exactly what I think about that. I mean what else do you say but also I want people to know I’m not telling them for attention or sympathy. But then again, I need to stop worrying about what other people think. So yes, I’ve been putting it out there and it’s been good. 

I’ve had three really good days in a row and it’s helping me feel hopeful about life. Not necessarily hopeful about becoming a mom. I still think it’ll never happen because I’ve been wanting it for so so so so so long. But I’ll work on it. 

I’m on day 7 of my thyroid medication. Not feeling any difference at all but I know it’s early. Hoping my TSH will be lower when I get my blood work done in 3 weeks. 

Been trying to focus on this lately. 

He will cover you with his feathers and under His wings you will find refuge. – Psalms 91:4

Miscarriage

So I said I’d write a separate about my insomniac thoughts on miscarriage. 

This is the Merriam-Webster definition of what a miscarriage is.

mis·car·riage

noun \ˌmis-ˈker-ij, -ˈka-rij, ˈmis-ˌ\

medical : a condition in which a pregnancy ends too early and does not result in the birth of a live baby

 

That’s fine and all but really? 20 words is all we get? That’s not acceptable to me. 

Miscarriage is a physical and emotional experience. The physical part is usually pretty straightforward; the fetus leaves your body before viability. It’s the emotional part of a miscarriage that is hard to put into words. At least in a concise fashion. 

The physical part of my miscarriage was over July 19, 2013. The emotional part of my miscarriage is just down waning at 6 months later. I do know that I took my miscarriage pretty hard and maybe others don’t experience the emotional aspect for 6 months but I know a lot of women who do. 

There are approximately 180 days in 6 months. I probably think about my miscarriage 100 times a day at least. That’s close to 20,000 thoughts about this experience. That’s a significant number. It’s definitely more than you can put into 20 words. These thoughts have consisted of me questioning, trying to accept, questioning again, wondering what it would be like if I hadn’t miscarried, wondering why people can’t be supportive, why should I feel ashamed to tell people about this, why are people close to me acting like it didn’t happen, will I ever be a mom, what’s wrong with my body, what’s wrong with my mind, why am I being punished, do I have the strength, is this going to break my marriage, is this going to break me, why was I so unlucky, and you get the picture. You’ve been there. 

Do you feel like this major, significant life event is not given the credit it should have? To me it deserves more than 20 words. To me it changed my world. Changed me completely. Changed my marriage. Changed my relationships. 

I said in a previous post that I am now feeling like the miscarriage is in my past and that I’m not living it day-to-day. The tears don’t come as easily but they still come. The thoughts are less frequent but they are still there. Miscarriage will always be a part of who I am and now that I’m feeling stronger I hope that I can help others and help bring to light that this is a life event that shouldn’t be swept under the rug. We need to support people who have gone through this because it is life changing. 

I prayed for strength and God has made me stronger despite evil trying to break me. I hope that anyone else who has gone through miscarriage can recognize their strength to move forward.