Monday, May 30, 2016

Doesn't it seem like there is a new reason to feel sad each day? One of your friends is planning a baby shower, sending out pregnancy announcements, or having a newly popular gender reveal party.

We're right in the time frame where we would have been finding out if we were having a boy or a girl. In a lot of ways it is easier to not know. On the other hand, it would be easier to grieve if we had more. The not knowing is the hardest part some days.

Each milestone that we were supposed to have. Each moment we will never have.

It has been extremely difficult trying to deal with losing something you never really had. How do you remember your child when the only thing you had of them was a few positive pregnancy tests? I still haven't been able to throw those away.. they're all sitting under my sink.

It becoming harder for me to sit around and act normal around people. Someone will say something about, "Once you have kids....." or "What are you going to do about...when you have kids?" All I want to do is yell at them about how I did have a baby. I loved it more than is even reasonable. I never got to hold it, but I loved and cared about my baby. I got a small sliver of what true happiness feels like. And then it was gone.

It's so important to not take any of this anger and pain out on your significant other. Men feel this pain and loss just as strongly as women do. Yet they have to act like nothing happened and go back to life like it's all fine.

My sweet husband has been so strong and steady for me. But once in a while I'll catch a small glimpse of his pain. He hides it so well, and my heart breaks for him.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

We Are Not Our Illnesses, but We Know Them

“Each patient carries his own doctor inside him.” 
― Norman CousinsAnatomy of an Illness

Let's be honest, sometimes our bodies suck.

Illness and hospitals have been a part of my life since the beginning. I can hardly tell you of more than a handful of days when I have actually felt good. It's just something that I am used to. I know when I'm getting sick, I know when I need a doctor, and I know what will make me better. It comes from doing the same thing over and over, year after year.

That is one of the main reasons that my husband and I didn't think we would actually have biological children. It's something that I was open with him about from early on in our relationship. If this man was going to date me and hopefully ask me to marry him one day, then he needed to know everything about me. My medical history, my relationship history, and everything else about me.

Once I had a guy friend tell me that I didn't need to tell my boyfriend everything, and my response was simple: I've seen too many movies where the bride or groom finds out something on the wedding day and everything is ruined. Not worth it. Honesty is everything.

But back to illnesses. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), asthma, weight problems, anxiety, depression, surgeries, back and knee problems... just to name a few that I have lived with. But to touch on the one that causes an countless issues for women. PCOS.

Symptoms (which tend to start gradually)*
-Weight gain
-Inability to lose weight
(Well that's cruel. "Here, take all of this extra weight. But, you can't give any of it back. Oh yeah, almost forgot to tell you, the rest of your symptoms will only get better if you find a way to lose weight. HAVE FUN!!!)
-Menstrual problems, including; irregular cycles, few or no periods, heavy bleeding, severe pain, etc.
(Sidebar. Did you know that having irregular cycles and few or no periods makes it super hard to get pregnant? Cool.)
-Hair loss
-Extra hair growth... but in places you don't want it. Like your face, neck, back, chest, hands and feet.
(This article shows one woman's battle with this side effect. Read the comments, it's wonderful to see women talking about these issues and educating others)
-Oily skin and acne
-Insulin resistance, which leads to more weight gain and skin tags.
-Depression and/or mood swings which can become quite severe.
-Breathing problems while sleeping. Sleep apnea, which is linked to weight and insulin resistance
Last, and maybe the most difficult for some:
-Fertility problems. These can involve not releasing eggs (not ovulating) and repeat miscarriages.

Many women have no idea that there is a name for all of the problems they are going through.
Many women don't realize that there are other people out there who feel just as sick, tired, sad, angry, and at a complete loss for why nothing is working for them.

So many doctors have told me, "You need to lose weight" or "This will get better if you lose weight," yet no one offers any education on how to accomplish this with PCOS.

The point I was trying to get to with all of this is simple. Women know their bodies. We also know when we are not being treated right by the medical professionals that we are trusting with our hope of having children. We are not being educated. We are not being focused on. And most importantly, we are not being given as much attention and care as we deserve.

I will go into more detail later on my experiences with the doctors and nurses who "helped" me through my pregnancy loss.

Please do not misunderstand me. I have extreme respect for doctors and nurses. I have close friends who have shown me how much care and personal emotion goes into this life. But that doesn't mean that there aren't some who do their job with less than stellar bedside manner.

*List of symptoms taken from WebMD

Saturday, May 21, 2016

When You Lose Something, You See it Everywhere

"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die."
- Thomas Campbell

I've put this to the side for a little while. I've written parts of a couple different posts, but haven't been able to finish them.

One thing that I've found myself doing since losing my baby is combing through other people's experiences and thoughts. There are stories and quotes everywhere. It helps for a little while, but then I go right back to being in my own little depressed world.

The quote at the top rings true on a few levels, I think about my baby EVERY SINGLE DAY.

And by the way. Is it just me, or does every TV show, movie, book, commercial, person in line in front of you at the grocery store, and radio show have to do with babies? I mean, come on.

In the weeks after we lost our baby, DH and I spent a lot of time watching TV and pretending life didn't exist. Yet, even the most random shows, that up to that point had no story line going in any direction 500 miles near a baby, had three pregnant women, a miscarriage or two, and lots of happy couples with successful pregnancies. It hasn't changed. I've started reading a lot more to try and get away, and every random book I've downloaded has had some sort of pregnancy. Why? As if I wasn't in enough pain, now all of my outlets have been shoving my pain back in my face.

My child will never leave me. Ever. Even though I never got to hold my baby, I had more love for my child than I can explain.

I'm sitting here watching Overboard while I type. One of my favorite movies. Thought I would throw that in.

I digress.

The loss is everywhere. No matter what anyone says, I haven't found it to get better. I know that I'm still early in all of this, it's only been a couple of months, but I am just as heartbroken as I was the day I found out. I don't believe that will ever change, and I'm not sure that it ever should.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Finding Meaning in Words and Life in the Face of Loss

The name of this blog is based off of a saying that I found in Gaelic.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine. Under the Shelter of Each Other, People Survive.

To me there is so much meaning in these few words. Where would we be without others? Sometimes things would be better without them, and other times we couldn't make it without those around us.

One huge example of this happened recently for my husband and I. Which is the main reason I wanted to start this. People need help, and who else is there besides us to give it?

We had been trying for over a year and a half to get pregnant. I know this isn't long for some, and for others this seems like a lifetime. I spent the whole time watching those around me get pregnant with seemingly little effort. I mean, what does it take? Sex = Babies. Kids are getting pregnant every single day. Women are having abortions or taking the Morning After Pill. Children are without homes. Seriously, this is one of the most basic of human abilities, why can I not do this?

Finally, after all of the tests, appointments and heartbreak each time my cycle started, we had a positive home pregnancy test on February 28th, 2016. Okay... to be perfectly honest, when I say "a positive home pregnancy test" I really mean that I took the first one, we didn't believe this could be real, went on to take the other three tests that I had at home, went to Walgreens, realized their tests were insanely expensive, went to WalMart, bought three more, and proceeded to take those as well.

Seven. We went through seven home pregnancy tests telling us that I was pregnant before we finally started to let it sink in.

Pregnant. A word that can bring hope and happiness to some, anger and sadness to others, and fear to most.

How were we supposed to know that we only had a couple of days to be happy? A couple of days before it all fell in on us.

How were we supposed to prepare for two weeks and one day later (March 14), when I would get a shot of methotrexate to end my pregnancy? The pregnancy that we had prayed for and feared would never be a reality. The pregnancy that if I didn't end, it would end mine and my child's life.

Part of this will be about those who helped me along the way. Part of it will be about those who made this worse than it ever should have been.