I have been overwhelmed by everyone’s excitement abut our pregnancy but I can’t help feeling a little guilty.
It seems so unfair! Firstly, I am pregnant – yay! And because I am pregnant I don’t have to take HRT (which I usually have to take as my ovaries don’t produce oestrogen but now that I’m up the duff, my placenta is producing copious amounts of oestrogen) -yay! And now I’m starting to get lots of lovely special attention that people give pregnant women – yay!
One of my workmates pulled me aside this week and asked me if I had something I wanted to tell her, pointedly looking at my swelling belly. When I confirmed her suspicions she almost jumped up and punched the air in a congratulatory response! My boss asked God to bless me (I’m not religious but welcome anything that will help sustain this pregnancy). And all the hairdressers at my salon sent up a collective whoop when I quietly told my hairdresser that my thick hair would probably be getting even thicker soon.
You might wonder what’s unfair about all this? Well it’s definitely all great, but I can’t help feeling sad that I didn’t get any of this lovely stuff when I needed it most – those five years of not believing we’d ever be able to have a baby and grieving for what I perceived to be my lost womanhood – why can’t there be more upsides to be infertile?
I guess the majority of people don’t know how to deal with someone who is grieving (about anything). And only infertiles know what it is like to be infertile so that makes it hard for fertiles to offer sage advice and comfort. But I wish we could have an ‘International Infertiles’ Day’ on which everyone would honour and recognise those who are infertile. Everyone needs to be recognised and treated specially for whatever their condition in life is and infertiles are one group who generally suffer in silence with little public celebration.
I was listening to Reproductive Biologist Prof Roger Short on the radio the other day, and he said something which struck me as very poignant.
He said there is a definition that when a woman bleeds, it is seen as the womb weeping for its lost love. How achingly sweet is that?
I think this is very apt for every one of us who has bled after hoping they were pregnant. The pain and aching of the bleeding hurts in your womb as well as in your heart. It is also fits very well for those of us who have miscarried. The bleeding and discomfort is often much more, signifying the weight of this loss.
And what about those lucky enough to have a baby? Some mothers have told me they felt bereft when they were no longer pregnant after their child had been born. The bleeding then is long and copious.
Now I am pregnant, I really hope that the next time I bleed will be after I have my baby at full term. I have a wee while to wait as I am only five-and-a-half weeks pregnant. But this morning I woke up and there was a tiny amount of spotting. It’s only very faint and a light brown colour (I think bright red is considered more problematic). But eeeek!! this is not what I wanted to see. It has stopped now so I’m hoping that will be all.
Nevertheless, my doctor has asked me to go in for a blood test tomorrow to see what’s happening. Oh gawd – this is going to be knuckle gnawing stuff. There is no way I’m going to be able to take that results phone call at work tomorrow in case it shows my pregnancy is on the skids. Therefore I’m going to have to ask my lovely husband if he would mind taking the message again and then letting me know the results after work tomorrow night.
Read transcript of radio show: Interview with Roger Short on ABC Science Show, June 2011
The nonchalance, needles, lack of yoga, avoidance of alcohol and shellfish didn’t make a smite of difference as my pregnancy blood test came back negative.
I asked my husband how he felt and he said deflated, which is pretty much how I feel. Just numb and flat. As if one of those acupuncture needles (or perhaps it was my blood test needle this morning) has pricked our little balloon of hope.
And I was beginning to convince myself that my sore back was a symptom. Christ knows why it’s sore if I’m not pregnant. How dare it be sore and tease me into thinking it could be a sign!
So now I have to go off all my medication for a few days. That includes the oestrogen that my ovaries no longer make. This means I’ll end up having a horrible hormonal crash in a few days, which is when my period should also start. Brilliant – definitely something to look forward to.
But after all the nastiness, I’ll be able to go back on my oestrogen to start building up my womb lining again. This is something I seem to be good at – my doctor is always pleased with the thickness of my endometrium. So all going well, I could be up for another transfer in a few weeks – how crazy is that?
If we keep going at this rate (rapid fire transfers but no pregnancies), we’ll be through our embryos in no time. Now there are six left. I don’t know why but I am reminded of that nursery rhyme ‘Ten green bottles hanging on the wall’…..do you know it? Hopefully our story will have a different ending…
Having a miscarriage was what it took for us to get the support we needed for our infertility.
Our miscarriage (last month) followed five years of infertility after I was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure. I was told I had already gone through menopause when I was 35. A horrible diagnosis – with the added horrible side effect of infertility.
Being infertile is weird as there is massive loss but nothing tangible to grieve over. You can’t tell a workmate you feel dreadful because you are infertile. You don’t labour with your friends or family over feeling empty and broken-hearted as it just gets boring.
On the other hand, having a miscarriage gives you something to cry over. Our yoga teachers knew; our bosses knew, our close friends and family knew. Their sympathy and thoughtfulness bouyed us in our grief and helped mend some wounds.
Infertiles you know may seem to handle everything just fine but they need your support and help in the same way anyone grieving a loss does. Being asked how they are or acknowledging their loss goes a long way towards comforting infertiles in their (long) time of loss.
For a basic understanding of infertility
What is infertility? Resolve website
Background on National Infertility Awareness Week® (NIAW)
National Infertility Awareness Week (US) April 24-30
For those interested in taking part in the infertility myth challenge
Our beautiful little mizuko kuyo or 'water child' is a tangible representation of our lost embryo
We received our little mizuko kuyo in the post last week. It has a beautiful face, a lovely shaped head and a serene demeanour.
Mizuko kuyo means ‘water child’ in Japanese which I think is very apt, given our little embryo would have been in fluid inside me before I lost the pregnancy.
Yesterday we held a little ceremony with the mizuko kuyo to remember our embryo, following the Japanese custom. As we walked out to our garden, I cradled its head in my hand and I imagined what it would have been like to have done the same to our baby, had it been born.
My husband wrote a little message on card from us both and folded it up underneath its base. I put an old bracelet of mine around its neck and encircled the ground around it with an old neclace.
Goodness knows if it was a wee boy or girl we lost but we figured that if it was a boy it would probably wouldn’t have minded the jewellery, given that I love adorning myself and my husband is quite in touch with his feminine side (I should add here so as not to smite his masculinity, that he also loves football, cycling and many other manly things!)
We then laid some flowers around it in a new rock garden which my sister and I built while she was here donating her eggs to me. We thought that was very fitting. The flowers nestle around the little figure and give it the grace and reverence of a tiny little buddha.
This little figure gives us something concrete by which to remember our little lost offspring. It may have only been tiny but it was a live being and part of us both.
My sister skyped me just now to tell me her news. She wanted me to know before anyone else, that she is six weeks pregnant. If my pregnancy had continued, I would be one week ahead of her.
This is not the sister who donated her eggs to me, but she is still very precious and is the littlest sister of four girls in our family.
I feel absolutely gutted. This adds to our loss and is another kick in the teeth. I will now be reminded at every step of her pregnancy, of the pregnancy we have lost.
I am very happy for her but so unhappy for us. How can you marry those two sets of emotions? I am struggling.
She also already has a gorgeous little boy which she conceived in a flash two years ago. She has conceived this baby in a blink too. Why is it so hard for some people to get pregnant and easy for others?
I know it sounds childish (pardon the pun) but I feel as if it is now my turn to have a baby, not hers, as she already has one. How dumb is that? I know it is completely ridiculous feeling like that but that’s what I’m feeling right now.
Has anyone else ever experienced this situation and if so how have you dealt with it?
Tears. They just keep coming. There I was thinking I would be going back to work today.
Instead I rang my boss and bawled my eyes out in her ear, telling her that I had lost my pregnancy and that I couldn’t stop crying. She was so nice and told me to cry a river and gradually swim through it to get to the other side. And in the meantime not to go into work.
Then I called my counsellor and cried some more.
Last night I slept terribly and kept waking up with a racing heart. Then I cried and cried in my husband’s arms.
My eyelids look like little swollen mauve caterpillars.
I feel so sad for our poor lost pregnancy. I feel a black hole in my heart. Much the same as the cavity we saw in my womb at the scan, where our embryo had been.
Last year a friend of mine had two miscarriages. I sent her a link to the article below. Upon reading it again, I have found it comforting.
I hope you do too if you are reading this and are experiencing/have experienced the awful loss of miscarriage.
Secret Society – Pregnancies that don’t end well, By Mia Freedman, Aug 9, 2010, the age.com.au