Keeping on keeping on

Sometimes I think I just make too much of things. I want to be totally okay, I really do. But I’ve been feeling not myself since the miscarriage. I don’t feel overwhelmingly sad. It’s more a numbness. I think the best way to describe it is that nothing has changed (I’m still not pregnant; I’m still infertile) and yet everything has changed (I was pregnant, finally, but we lost the baby).

For something that’s so mundane that apparently a quarter of women go through it*, I still feel like there is very little respect for our loss (and the almost worse loss preceding it, the years of infertility and lack of hope – at least for a few short weeks we had hope, until it was snatched away). I feel like I’m expected to suck it up and just go back to being old Infertile Me.

(*Being a statistician I can’t believe this is actually correct. It’s a quarter of pregnancies, and I reckon probably more women have multiple miscarriages and some give up before they ever have a baby, and some never get pregnant. I reckon the misery is concentrated rather than spread out evenly. Life isn’t fair.)

This weekend I put on my big girl pants (how I loathe that expression!) and went to the family gathering. I was vaguely dreading it as it was going to be right in my face – my infertility standing out like a sore thumb in the face of a toddler and a gigantic pregnant belly. Also it would be the first time I saw my family since the miscarriage. My family is – what can I say? – they’re my family. They’re British. We are close, but also we don’t do overblown emotion generally so I was sort of dreading any kind of over the top sympathy. (I know this sounds ungrateful in the face of my previous complaints, but what I mean is I don’t deal well with sympathy… It makes me feel worse somehow when it is in person especially! Must be British reserve!)

In the event we had a very pleasant time. The little one was cute (and started off sick, which I think at least made me remember that there are less enjoyable aspects to childrearing) and the pregnant belly was gigantic but not really referred to. Possibly out of deference to me; I don’t know. We would usually talk about it I think – we usually like guessing names and so on – but we didn’t really focus on it, which I was grateful for.

When I arrived, everyone hugged me a little too long. And when I left, the same. That was my family’s way of saying “We are sorry for your loss and we are hurting for you” without having to say it. Really it was as easy as they could have made it. We even played lots of games with the little one once the sickness had passed (probably the E numbers in the cake I brought, haha). I only spent a small proportion of the time silently thinking in the back of my mind “I should be just into my second trimester now” and “Maybe I’d have a little belly by now and I wouldn’t be drinking”. (Sod it; I have the bloody little belly anyway.)

I would be 12 weeks and 2 days pregnant now. My baby would be about 3 inches. We would be just into the second trimester. We would be starting to think about telling people. Maybe not everyone but at least the family. In fact, we would probably be telling them today. Sharing the happy news at a family gathering. For once I would be an almost-parent instead of still-childless Me. We could have all of those conversations about silly baby names and leaving work with me.

To coin a phrase: “Always the aunt and never the mother.”

Maybe I’ve had my time. I got to be the bride (never the bridesmaid). I got the great relationship, the second chance at happiness. I got the Dog. I pretty much have most of it. Nobody can have it all – isn’t that what they say?

My inner monologue just trundles along in the background despite all my outer happiness. By the end of the day I was exhausted – maybe this was emotion or maybe it was late night cake making! (I was pretty proud of the cake – plus I had another late commission so did two cakes in a day. It’s a great way to take my mind off thinking too much.) I can’t help looking around my brother’s big house with the pale carpets (Dog would just wee on them and trundle muddy paws in!) and all the trappings of success – gorgeous child, one on the way, doting wife, large garden, everything neat and tidy instead of haphazardly piled up everywhere in our rather messy flat in a dodgy area – and I think, how the other half live.

I love my T and I’m happy in our relationship and it’s nothing to do with him that I feel this sense of – what happened? How come I don’t have the easy life? Why don’t I have the house and the child? It’s nobody’s fault, my infertility… I don’t believe that it’s some sort of divine retribution for sins in a previous life or this one. I didn’t “leave it too late”. I was in a long term committed relationship and it didn’t happen. I had the problems with endometriosis and the rest back in my 20s. It’s pretty likely that nothing would have changed the course of my infertility other than entering fertility treatment earlier. Maybe I could have done it in my late 20s. We weren’t really in the right place emotionally. (That’s a whole other post.)

I guess… It often feels like people are judging me/infertile people for not trying to have children earlier. When really we have tried a bunch harder than most of the people who have children now. Plenty of sex? Jeez, you should have been there in my 20s! And when T and I met! (And the year or so of being separated… I’m no angel.) If you got a child for every few times you had sex, I’d have about twenty by now!

I think this is what people who have children don’t quite get. Just because you had some random anniversary cuddles and got pregnant, or “tried” for like a couple of months and “it just happened”, doesn’t mean it will ever happen for me. I’ve done all the at-it-like-rabbits. I’ve done the TTC at fertile times. The ovulation tests. The surgeries (I think it’s three or four; I lose track). The many invasive scans (how I detest having the lightsaber waving around my undercarriage). The many more invasive questions. If it could have “just happened” it would have done so by now.

And now. I’m back at the job where I feel stressed a lot of the time, in order to keep my maternity rights and a paycheck that keeps us able to afford to live in our one bedroom studio flat in a dodgy part of town. (There’s the added stress of trying to move out and get our own place in a nicer part of town, but that is probably at least a year away as I’m trying to settle financially with my ex. I’m supporting him, rather than the other way round that people often assume, but that’s another story…) As discussed on another post, I would love to give up work and either downsize my job (and devote myself to fertility) or become a homemaker (full time babymaking!), but that really isn’t an option. I think people don’t really realise how expensive London is. I guess we could move but it’s where the jobs are – it’s sort of a vicious circle.

Yesterday: another two baby announcements on Facebook. I can’t begrudge people having babies – after all, I’m trying to have one – but sometimes it feels like a kick in the teeth. One was my friend’s absolutely adorable newborn. Usually I think they look like little trolls but this one looked cute. Another was a pregnancy announcement and when I saw the dates – she got pregnant around the same time I did. We would have been announcing around the same time. I actually feel happy for her – she had a lot of tragedy in her life and I’m glad she has found happiness. Another part of me thinks – but she’s old! Older than me! And (it sounds like from the comments) it just happened naturally!

It’s one thing after another. I’m in the doctors surgery waiting – I’ve been plagued with daily headaches pretty much since we got back from our mini break, and it’s becoming unbearable. I keep taking painkillers but they’re not doing anything. My head just throbs. And there’s a woman with a pram and she has to give her age and she’s older than me too. Same birth year but older. It feels like the whole world is conspiring to whisper at me all day You’re childless! Barren b****! Of course there’s a certain irony in the fact that my own birth mother was probably sitting in a doctor’s surgery 30-something years ago thinking I hope I’m not pregnant. 

And I totally don’t begrudge this either but have the similar envious feelings – we even know a lesbian couple who had a baby! I mean, surely they’re up against it worse than we are? But no, they had a very straightforward sperm donation and IVF and now have a chubby little baby, who’s biologically related to one mum and was carried by the other. I just think, I live in a world where you can even have a baby if you’re missing one of the parts! And I can’t even get pregnant the normal way! (I might add that I am glad gay couples can have children – I have very close friends and family members who are gay and I’m glad they have the option of having a bio family if that’s their dream.)

We only did one cycle and it worked – up to a point. So that’s not a terrible track record so far. Okay, so I’ve 100% never had a baby, but I have a 100% success rate getting pregnant with IVF. Maybe it will work on the second go. Or the third. Or maybe it won’t.

What you don’t realise before IVF is how long it takes to go through the process. The waiting for cycles to happen (at least 6 months for us). The length of an entire cycle from down regulation to stimulation to all the scans and transfer. The binary success rate after all that waiting – it works or it doesn’t. The lack of any reassurance when you do get pregnant that it might stick and you won’t lose it. I think “normal” pregnant mothers also have that kind of worry, but not for such a long lead time and probably not with so much history of stuff not working. Anyone who suffers a loss suffers greatly. But for infertile people we can’t “just try again”. We have to rejoin that long, desolate conveyor belt of waiting and hoping and trying again. And if you’re not in the UK, you have to battle with insurance and raise funds to do it as well. That is a big dose of pain for even the strongest couple to take.

I said in my previous post that I feel like this is constantly running through the back of my mind. It makes me sound a bit of a lunatic really, but I’m so used to it that it’s just there at the back of my mind whilst I get on with everyday life. I feel like I’m high functioning… I’m perfectly “normal” in the way that I have a fairly mundane life and don’t embarrass myself (too much) at social events. I think what’s happening is that I’m beginning to think that maybe there is no hope. I always felt that there was, a tiny bit. I’m the kind of person who can say out loud “I’m not hoping at all and I don’t have expectations of success” and yet really at the back of my mind is this hot bright burning hope. I felt that way about my previous relationship where nobody ever expected us to stand the test of time and we ended up together for a decade and married. I think I’m always like a child at Christmas saying that I’m just grateful Santa even turns up, but really I hope he’ll bring me a fantastic toy, and he usually did. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just going a bit crazy.

In myself I feel exhausted. I don’t know if the headaches are a symptom of that. I feel sooo tired all the time because my sleep is pretty bad. I get up a lot to go to the bathroom (probably because I’m drinking water to try and stave off the headaches!) and I generally wake up a few times during the night. And when I wake up, my head just hurts. Not from drinking alcohol! I do occasionally drink it but given the past few months, more often I don’t. I just wake up with this kind of pain in my head and it seems to stay there at a lower level for most of the day. Sometimes when I move my head or my eyes it gets worse.

I’m such a hypochondriac!

Anyway, I’m keeping myself busy. We’ve recently implemented a new regime of walking Dog together in the mornings. Ever since I got rid of our dog walker (see previous post He’s cheating on me!) we have tried to walk Dog for a longer time and also use it as bonding time. It means we have a nice chat at the beginning of the day. I guess when I get assigned to a new project then we will probably not be able to do it as I’ll have to go back to the crazy hours (4-5am wake ups! and nights away from home) so we’re making the most of it.

We had a horrible moment this morning in the park when a giant dog attacked Dog. T picked him up and tried to protect him but this dog was totally going for him. We were just lucky that Dog was on the lead as if he had run off and the big dog had caught him, it doesn’t bear thinking about. Dog is very small (cat sized!) but he is fast, but anyway we managed to bat away the big dog. The man was apologetic but I was just kind of amazed that he would walk his dog off the lead if it was violent. Our Dog would never attack anyone. I know people say that but he’s very small and not vicious at all – even if he tried, you’d easily be able to push him away. Stuff like this just saddens me as it adds to the public’s fear of dogs – which is a problem in our area.

I think after everything lately that my entire happiness has kind of been concentrated into little Dog. I don’t think he’s instead of a baby – that would be to do him a disservice. I think he’s where all my comfort lies and my feeling of being needed and wanted. (I get that from T as well, and T and Dog are linked, my two best boys, but Dog is able to provide the constant reassurance and licks!) I really don’t know what I would do without either of them, but my fears are generally concentrated around Dog, because he’s less able to look after himself than T is. I think maybe this kind of obsessive love and worrying is a way to deal with (or not deal with) what happened. I used to be a lot more obsessive and anxious in my past life with my past relationships and that had sort of died down with T, because he makes me feel so reassured and loved. So I’m just trying not to get overly obsessive and worried that something might happen to them.

And all this – my blog – the random bletherings… It’s just my way of making sense of it. It’s giving my thoughts a voice. (I’m not relentlessly introspective in real life, I promise. I’m fairly lighthearted and occasionally even nice!) I hope that one day I’ll be able to look back on it and see how everything was alright and everything got better. I do believe in good things in our future – I can see a future where T and Dog and I are happy, with or without babies. I think we could have a nice life because we have one now. Life is an adventure and I’ve had a pretty good one so far.

  
Grabbing life’s little pleasures 

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27 comments

  1. Babyscienceproject

    You’re not a hypochondriac – you are going through a bereavement. It isn’t a quick or easy process! Are you having any counselling? You should consider it – hopefully your clinic has someone you can talk to?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nara

      Thank you. We did get offered counselling. I’m just not sure it’s for me. I’ve done it in the past but I sort of feel like I’d rather just move on… I know that everyone suggests it’s better for getting closure and so on, but I feel like I would have to keep going over it, which I don’t want to do, if you get what I mean? (Obviously I am thinking about it out loud on here, but I don’t want to have an hour a week where I have to focus on it! I’m kind of awkward when talking about my feelings in person.)

      Like

  2. stealingnectar

    Everything you say makes so much sense. I feel like you are telling me these things over coffee and I wish you could see my nods of understanding and compassion. My two boys are my world too. I get how those loves get bigger now that you’ve lost a child. Bigger in appreciation at least. March 2014 I have a post “Not The Worst Day of the Year” when we almost lost our pup after losing A.G, earlier that year. It was a horrific day as I am sure you can imagine and feel emotionally. As I am reflecting on A.G.’s angelversary today, I am more connected to the place in grief you currently reside. You are such a strong woman, and I know you know it will get better. This suffering will help you grow into the person you always were meant to be. Your child will always be a part of that. Hugs to you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nara

      Aww thank you… I really wish we could just chat over coffee as I feel like we would be great friends! 🙂 Thank you for understanding. And thank you for sharing your story about your little A.G., and for understanding about the pup. (I haven’t read your post yet… I don’t know if I can bring myself to… I always feel terrible when I read about bad things happening to animals, especially dogs or cats!) Thank you for the hugs – sending some back to you x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. theskyandback

    Oh, friend. Big hugs for you. It’s totally ok — and even expected — for you to not feel normal yet. Honestly, I feel like I’m JUST starting to feel semi-normal again and my last miscarriage was in December. It’s definitely a process.

    I recently started working with a fertility coach (via Skype because she’s in Canada) and it’s been really helpful in dealing with all of my grief and feelings of hopelessness. Like, way more helpful than I anticipated. I was initially grumbling about it because her program is pricey (and let’s be honest, none of us going through fertility treatments have any spare cash), but in the end I’m glad I did it. Here’s a link to her site if you want to check it out. She works with people all over the world. http://yogagoddess.ca

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nara

      Thank you. I sort of feel like I’m dragging it out a bit and I should be over it already! I think it’s the British stiff upper lip! Actually I don’t feel too bad… I just sort of have this stream of consciousness running in the background. I find that blogging is cathartic! And makes me realise I’m not alone. Thank you for your recommendation… I have a post to make about counselling as it keeps getting recommended! Thank you for the hugs – I’m sending some back to you! x

      Like

  4. Courtney

    I wish I could comment every single paragraph of this post. There is so much here.

    I just want to say that you are not being over sensitive. Fertiles, family members, friends… They all think we struggle because we waited too long. I got so tired of it that I outed my husband’s almost non existent sperm count to his mom and sister. I wanted a tattoo on my forehead saying, “no we did not wait too long, and no it’s not ME.”. The blame we get as infertiles is unbearable.

    Everyone around me kept getting pregnant and kept saying, “just keep trying. It took us x months.”. But here’s the thing that you touched on… When you do IVF, you get 2 or 3 shots a year at it. People trying on their own or doing IUI get 12 shots a year to get pregnant. NO, I cannot just get pregnant if I keep trying because I can’t try for 3 months at a time!

    You are not a hypochondriac and you are not being overly sensitive. You are fighting infertility. You are all-consumed with each cycle and when you’ll start again. It’s running your life even when you’re not cycling. IF is hard… IVF is even harder. Those of us who end up at IVF know what it’s like and how hard it is to try on our own and do IUIs because guess what…. WE DID IT TOO. The move to IVF is daunting and scary and leaves you no room for anything but obsessing over every phase of the process, interrupted sleep, and daily headaches. God, I remember the headaches.

    Hang in there. Hang in tight. And when you can’t, know that all of us are hanging on for you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nara

      Hahaha, thank you for the laugh! I can just imagine the tattoo! 🙂 Sometimes I wanted to do something like that in my past relationship. Apparently everyone thought I didn’t like children because I didn’t want to be around them all the time. I think people just don’t think!

      And you’re so right about the cycles… Gosh, it tires me just thinking about it. Realistically our next cycle probably won’t even be until next year, and then I’ll be even older and my ovaries will be even more shrivelled (if you believe what the media say!).

      We actually got recommended to move directly to IVF given my age – we could have done IUI. I’m wondering about it now as I read an article yesterday that said IUI success rates are almost as good as IVF success rates, and it’s less invasive… I guess I can’t do anything about it until we know about the fibroid, and my appointment for that isn’t till October. 😦 It’s just a waiting game with all of this.

      Thanks for hanging on in there for me! 🙂

      Like

  5. My Perfect Breakdown

    I wish I had an hour to sit here and comment on everything you wrote today. So much of what you’ve said resonates with me, and I have so many thoughts…so many. And of course I have to run into a meeting shortly.
    So, I’ll say this for now, you are totally normal. All of this, is just so normal in a non-typical situation. Very few people “get it” whether it be IVF or miscarriage or longing for a child and not having one. I think miscarriage is the most isolating experience I’ve ever been through, and since I have no experience with IVF I can only imagine how hard that process is.
    The fight is hard, and the struggle is just so real. Sometimes you want people to stand up and acknowledge what you’ve been through and then 5 seconds later you just want everyone to pretend that it never happened and not look at you with sad eyes.
    And the works stuff, for me a stressful, 60-70 hour a week job that I didn’t like became that much more unbearable once we were dealing with miscarriage and loss. The job was a necessary evil and it was horrible to be going in the day after surgery because I had to. Or coming off narcotic pain kills to be able to send emails that Mr. MPB would read before I sent to make sure they were coherent – it just added insult to injury. And my resentment just kept growing. So, while we are not identical, I do understand some of what you are saying about work.
    I’m sending you so much love my friend. I believe if you continue to process all of these emotions you are going to be so much healthier in then those of us who didn’t at the time (I didn’t so I’m speaking from experience).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Thank you so much. I think you’re right – most people don’t understand. And I really have found the miscarriage to be very isolating. All the pregnancy announcements and expectations that I’ll want to hang out with babies just because I’m female – it sort of grinds me down. And I feel like people just think it’s a small thing that happened. I actually sort of feel like if it had happened naturally (and not after years, over a decade of infertility) then I might have dealt with it better – I don’t minimise anyone else’s loss, but I just am trying to give an idea of where we are in the waiting. I’m on year 15 or 16 pretty much. It just seems so… long. And possibly unhopeful. I think that’s what I’m finding hard to deal with.

      And you’re so right about the wanting people to acknowledge it and then not to! I’m like that! I know it seems really contrary. It’s like: I want people to understand that it was a really horrible thing, losing a baby. Losing a baby that we waited a long time for and didn’t just conceive one night by accident. But other times I just want them all to go away, and to be alone with my dog. He doesn’t ask any questions and just cuddles me! It’s a bit pathetic really!

      And I feel you totally with the job thing. I’m going to do a post about yesterday, but I almost cried when I told the doctor “I feel like I’ve had to stay and put up with a job that I hate [at times] and I don’t have any baby to show for it”. I already had massive resentment and now I just have sadness and resignation.

      I’m sorry you didn’t process your emotions at the time… tbh I am more of an avoidant person (apart from on here, haha! – I am fine with writing but not so much with talking) so I am really unsure about counselling etc, which everyone seems to think is a good idea. What helped you the most do you think? It seems like you have processed a lot of thoughts and emotions since then. Thank you for all your advice and caring!

      Like

  6. babyyesno

    Oh I was nodding and agreeing with all your words as I read your post. I understand all your thoughts and reflection all to well. My husband, cat and I have become incredibly tight after such a roller coaster ride of emotions over the years. I found focussing on what I have and love doing helps. But it sounds like you are doing that anyway xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Aww, pets are the best! I need to focus on what I love doing… I am very grateful for the fab people (and dog!) in my life. I’ve recently been trying to spend more time doing my hobby (baking) and a bit of sewing. We just need to keep going! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Surviving Infertility

    Everything in this post touched me deeply! I dont even know where to begin. I find all of what you are feeling to be so similar to things I have felt too. Going through IVF and miscarriage is so freaking tough. No one really gets it unless they have lived it like we have. I just want you to know i am here should you need anything. I feel like we are in very similar situations my friend. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Thank you so much for commenting. It is sad that we are going through similar things. It IS tough even if we are coping just fine! And I don’t think people necessarily understand… I don’t even know if I know how I feel myself! Thank you for your support and understanding. I really appreciate it and I hope we can support each other. x

      Liked by 1 person

  8. libraryowl33

    Just know that transferring your worry to Dog is completely normal. My friend lost her baby awhile back, and she became obsessed with her dogs. To the point she cried for 3 hours when she cut one of the dogs nails too far and it bled a bit. So many *hugs* to you as you continue to heal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Thank you! I was beginning to think I was going weirdly obsessive. I used to know someone who worried obsessively about her kids and I feel like I’ve always been quite like that with pets. (I used to not want the cat to go outside in case something bad happened.) I think it’s about learning to let go a bit of the risks maybe. Was just a bit shocking with the big dog yesterday, but Dog seems totally fine now and was fussed over by us yesterday! Thank you for caring xx

      Liked by 1 person

  9. ashleykyleanderson

    Hello, friend. There is so, so much to say and I just feel like it is not adequate to do it through a blog comment. I wish we could meet up and talk. I wish I could give you a hug. My heart is with you and I appreciate how honest you are in your posts. Clearly, as so many have written above me, you are not alone in your thoughts. But I know that even though it may be reassuring to know that others can relate, it doesn’t change how much it hurts now. I’m so glad that you have T and Dog (my heart jumped in my throat hearing about that other dog! So glad he is okay) and I hope with everything in me that you will soon be celebrating and announcing a pregnancy. You are so often on my mind. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Aw, thank you my dear. I so appreciate your support and I can feel your loveliness shining out through the page! I’m really reassured that there are people who can relate and everyone who shares their experiences, good and bad. I think it makes us all feel a bit less alone. Dog is fine after lots of treats and snuggles last night! We went to a different park this time! Thank you so much for caring – I am always heartened to read a comment from you! x

      Liked by 1 person

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