Tag Archives : fertility

How do you answer “the” question? 3

It started on our wedding day.
Maybe even before our wedding day. 
“So…when are you guys gonna have kids?”
As a young couple in our early twenties we normally responded with the politically correct answer of, “We’ll see…”
Five years later we were blessed with this little doll.
Yet, now that we have AJH, the questions have not ceased.
It’s not even the somewhat subtle, “So, when are you guys gonna have another baby,” that we often get. Most people just flat out say, “Sooooo, are you guys trying for number two?”
And it’s okay. This is not a rant. I am grateful that people are generally interested in our life and I have probably asked the same thing to my own friends. I think most of the time people are just making small talk and really just don’t know what else to ask a young couple.
So while this post is not a rant, it’s more of a discussion:

How do you answer “the” question? 

This is my typical response:
“Um, yeah, we’re sort of trying, but not really trying trying (whatever that means?!). I guess we’re not trying to get pregnant, but we’re not trying to stop it either.”
That makes sense, right?!?
When people are fairly persistent and say things like, “So, why haven’t you guys had a baby yet?” (meanwhile our daughter is barely 17 months old)  I am tempted to reply with, “Actually, I was pregnant a few months ago. But it didn’t work out.” 
But I haven’t said that yet. 
I don’t want to come off as “Debbie Downer” or sad “miscarriage girl” so I normally just pretend we didn’t go through that experience
But is that the right response? In my heart of hearts I think the answer is no. 
I have a lot of friends that have gone through the same experience or simply just can’t get pregnant and I have to wonder how difficult this question must be for them.
From my experience, I know that denying that it happened isn’t going to make it go away.
(I think the older I get, the more I actually believe the cliché, “the truth will set you free.”)
And sadly, miscarriage is now part of my truth.
A portion of this post from Life Rearranged on what to do/say when a friend experiences loss really stands out in my mind.
“Often people are afraid to acknowledge dates [and loss] for fear that the parent
will be reminded or upset.  The thing is, the parents need no reminding.
 The dates are always there.  Always looming.  Even years and years
down the line.  Your remembering will be comforting, not harming.  Get
out your calendar.  Mark down birth dates, death dates, due dates.  Send
a simple “thinking of you” card. Make a quick phone call. Do not be
afraid to use the baby’s name.  You will be a little light in a very
dark day for them.”
In this post by MemoMuse, she describes miscarriage as a “silent empty box.” She says, “There are so many women out there feeling this same feeling today,
yesterday, tomorrow.  It covers me like a vine nobody can see.  Much
like a bean pole vine grasping to anything its tendril can reach. Something sturdy, mounted in dirt, standing upright.  This vine of
sadness can’t grasp onto nothing.  So I grasp and curl around words. 
Around people I trust.  Around acknowledgement that it happened. That’s
its over. That I need to grieve.”
I couldn’t agree more.
While our pregnancy was lost fairly early at only 9 weeks, it was still a loss. It was hard. Hearing of other December due dates is hard. Seeing others having babies 21 months apart is hard. It’s all hard.
But it’s okay. It happens to so many of us. Maybe we need to stop pretending it doesn’t happen and embrace it for what it is. A hard loss.
Maybe acknowledging my current truth is the best way to answer the question. 
I long to cling to “something sturdy.”
So, when are my husband and I going to have baby number two?
Actually, I was recently pregnant, but it didn’t work out. Now we are just waiting to see what happens. Thanks for your concern. 
What is your answer?  
What is your truth?
PS–If you’re wondering what else to ask a young couple in awkward social situations besides, “when are you having a baby?” try one of these “safe” topics:
-have you been on any vacations lately?
-how is your job going?
-what kind of music have you been listening to?
-or even just,  what have you guys been up to? (besides baby making!) haha

The Beautiful Unknown 4

I did it. 
I posted one of those really annoyingly ambiguous Facebook status updates that leaves my friends puzzled, sending emails, text messages, and replies in concern. 
That was not my intention. 
I don’t like worrying people. I hate leaving things “up in the air.” I hate speculation. 
And as I said on that stupid Facebook status, I hate the unknown.
But for the last month, that has been our life. 
One morning I woke up, took a test, and found out I was pregnant. 
I was nauseous, exhausted, and starving all at once, just like with my first pregnancy. My belly started to take on a rounder shape, pushing out extra far after every meal. By the end of every day I think I truly looked about three months along…and I loved it.
After almost four weeks of guessing, my students sat me down for an intervention of sorts, and said, “Mrs. H., we know you’re pregnant.” I laughed it off and assumed it was okay if they knew because I’d be going to the Dr. the very next day to confirm everything.
And at that appt. we would see our baby and hear the heartbeat just like we did with AJH and then three days later we would make the announcement to our extended families on Easter Sunday and all would be well. We even ordered AJH a cute little tee shirt to wear that said, “This little chick has an Easter secret…She’s gonna be a big sister!” I bought plastic Easter eggs for AJH to give her cousins and planned on filling them with the ultrasound picture and “We’re EGGS-pecting” written along the top.
Unfortunately, that’s not how things went down. 
We went to the Dr. appt. that Thursday, giddy with excitement, and instead of seeing a baby and hearing a heartbeat at what we thought was 7 weeks pregnant, we saw a sac. A pretty empty sac with the beginnings of a yolk sac. The Dr. saw a bright light on the edge of the yolk sac that we were told could possibly grow into a baby. He said not to freak out yet. There was a chance my dates were off and it was just too early to see a baby or a heartbeat. We were told to wait a week and come back for another shot. 
I was devastated.

AJH’s special tee shirt came in the mail and I couldn’t look at it. There was going to be no Easter announcement and my heart was breaking.

In my mind I just knew it was over, but at the same time I tried to hold out hope for that bright light. Maybe that light was our baby. 
But things had felt mentally “different” the entire pregnancy. From day one I was nervous. I joined all of those crazy online baby groups. I read too many scary stories of all the bad things that could happen during pregnancy. I felt like miscarriage was everywhere I turned, from blogs I read to stories of friends of friends, to my favorite TV shows. I almost started to think (or expect) that it would happen to me because it was literally EVERYWHERE I turned. 
(Have you ever irrationally believed that something bad would happen to you because you kept seeings signs of it everywhere you turned?)

We went back the following Thursday for our next check. The week leading up to that appointment was torture, and probably when I did most of my “grieving.” I cried a lot. I think what was just as agonizing as the waiting was the fact that the entire time I went through the process I looked, felt, and was pregnant, all the while never knowing if a baby was ever going to develop. I spoke to a few close friends who had been through similar experiences and yet tried to hope for the best. One friend sent me this quote from Marianne Williamson:

“Every situation we find ourselves in is an opportunity, 
perfectly planned by the Holy Spirit, to teach love instead of fear.”
I read it right before going into the Dr. office and finally felt a sense of peace. I wasn’t surprised when they were still unable to find a fetal pole or heartbeat. In my own heart, I knew. But they kept saying it wasn’t over yet. There was still a chance it was just too early to see the baby.
We were told to wait until the following Tuesday to come back and get another look. 
I tried to function in that horrible space of “the unknown” which is what lead me to the ambiguous Facebook status update.
That weekend I started to have some bad symptoms in the realm of pregnancy. I will spare you the details. Up to that point everything had been textbook perfect, which is what kept me believing that things might work out. 
Because of these symptoms, the Dr. brought me back in for another check-up on Monday, rather than waiting until Tuesday. We did another ultrasound and got the same results…a healthy sac, and yolk sac but no baby. They told us not to get our hopes up, but that they still weren’t ready to give up. I had gone in fully expecting them to tell us it was over. And now they were saying to wait another week. I didn’t know what to think. I was happy that there was still hope yet I was told not to get my hopes up. It was so confusing. She said it’s not probable that the baby would ever develop, but it was possible. I got my  blood work done to check my hormone levels and tried once again to go on with my day.

I have never been good with patience and this experience was taking it to a whole new level. I was starting to believe that God was really trying to teach me a lesson.

I had been praying a lot, but I was not praying for a miracle. For the first time in my life, it just didn’t seem right. Instead, I prayed for peace…peace in whatever outcome the situation would bring. 
The next two days my symptoms were going from bad to worse. I called the Dr. again on Wed. with pretty scary things going on. I was very nervous and had to leave school immediately to get another ultra sound. The outcome was the same as all the others except now the sac was getting smaller. I waited for forty-five minutes to see the Dr. and get a final explanation. I was fine at first, but the longer I sat, the more I thought, and the more I thought, the more I wanted to cry. Finally, right as I was called back to her office I let the tears come. I was embarrassed but they understood. It was like all of these weeks of waiting were finally coming to a head, and even though I had been praying for an answer, in that moment, I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to hear that it really was the end. 
She sat me down and explained that things were just not progressing. The sac was getting smaller and the baby would never develop. The scary symptoms I was having were the first sign that things were ending.
From there I had to make some very tough decisions and now, two days later, I am healing, both physically and emotionally. I’m letting myself mourn the loss of this baby that never quite made it, and the overall experience of being pregnant. It’s hard. As I’ve said before, anytime a woman becomes pregnant, or even thinks she is pregnant, it’s extremely difficult to let that feeling go. 
I’m crying. 
But I’m also loving.

I am hugging my little girl extra tight and laughing every time I look at that picture of her wearing those antique Golden Girls glasses.

As we approach Mother’s Day this weekend I expect to be sad at this loss of another chance for me to be a mother. But for the most part, I will be happy. I have already been blessed as a mother once and I have a beautiful, healthy, perfect baby girl. I have an amazingly supportive husband who has been my rock through this entire experience. I have had knowledgeable, understanding and patient doctors and ultrasound technicians who have walked me through this time into a place of healing.

Yesterday I watched an Oprah episode in which she said, “Every death is a wake up call to live more fully, more completely, more presently.” While I don’t like to think of this experience as a death, it has been a way for me to gain more perspective on the beauty I have in my little corner of the world. I have learned a lot about myself, including the fact that yes, I AM patient. If I can get through those awful weeks of waiting, then I can get through anything, and no, I am not as weak as I sometimes think.

Most importantly, I have learned that every experience is another opportunity for me to believe in love instead of fear.

I have a card framed in my classroom that says, “Life is slippery. Here, take my hand.” It’s true. Sometimes life is hard to maneuver. We fall down, and get back up, only to fall down again. We feel much like my one-year-old in her new endeavors as a walker, with bumps and bruises painting her face. We need a hand to hold as we venture into the unknown.

Yes, sometimes life is slippery.

But it’s also beautiful.


*I started writing this post in the middle of the experience and just finished it today. For me, writing is the only way I know how to heal, or find closure. It may be hard for others to understand why I would want to share something so private in such a public forum, but writing and healing is what I consider my life’s work. If I can inspire just one person to find healing through writing, then my mission has been accomplished. Love.

Already Full 3

I’ve had this blog post dancing around in my head for the past few days. The feelings are real and sad and if I don’t get them out I fear they’ll come again next month, and the month after.
And I know from experience. For over fourteen months we tried unsuccessfully to get pregnant and I wrote on this blog as if all was well. I danced around the subject in vague posts about “wanting” and “patience” and secretly hoped someone would understand my pain. I thought it was too personal and too much and people would think I was weird if I wrote about my problems.
But, I’m over pretending. I know I have to be authentic if I want to help anyone, especially myself. Now, when I sit down to write I always have the same hopes–that when it’s all said and done I will feel better. And maybe, just maybe, someone else will, too.
After what felt like an eternity we were blessed with a baby girl that will be turning one in about a month. We love her…a lot.We try to soak up her beauty and innocence and funny personality as much as humanly possible. We hate being away from her. I have written about her… a lot.To put it simply, she has enriched our lives in countless ways.
And so I feel guilty when I confess that I was pretty sad to learn I wasn’t pregnant this month.
We’re not really trying to get pregnant again, though we’re not really not trying, either (you know how that works, right?). So every month I am not surprised when I discover I’m not pregnant. No big deal. It’s not like we’re really “trying” so I can’t get upset, right? Not to mention we have a healthy daughter that is about to go completely mobile and I just got back to my pre-baby weight. You’d think I’d be happy to remain baby-less for a while.
But this month things didn’t go in the normal routine and it threw me for a loop. False hopes got the baby vibe jumping in a scary way.
Thursday morning came and went with a big no show from the “friend” that normally visits like clockwork, literally, down to the hour.
I got home from work and decided to take the one and only pregnancy test I had.
Negative…at first glance. Then my mind started playing tricks on me.
Is that a faint blue line or just a shadow? Is it just an evaporation line or is it real? I can’t tell.
So I spent hours obsessing and googling and staring until something happened.
I took the test out of the trash to show my husband. He thought if anything, it was a very faint line, which gave me a weird sense of hope.I couldn’t wipe the goofy grin off my face.
Friday came and went and one hundred trips to the bathroom later…
…still nothing.
I was convinced I must be pregnant.
I ran to the pharmacy after work to get another box of tests. The guy at the counter actually asked, “So what are you hoping for? Yes or no?”
I just stared at him and spewed, “I don’t know.”
Really? Isn’t that a bit personal for our first, maybe second, meeting? This is a small town, buddy. I started to sweat as I thought I saw a past student behind me in line.
My inability to answer frightened me. I didn’t want my second pregnancy to start with an “I don’t know.” I wanted it to be as fun and exciting as the first time.
I got home and forced myself to wait because I  knew the morning would give me the best results and secretly feared it would be another negative. I spent more time on the internet. You’d be amazed at how many women out there with similar stories can convince you of whatever you want to believe. I didn’t get a positive test for 7 months with my second baby or I never get a positive with home pregnancy tests…
A little bit of spotting led to more hours of googling and obsessing. It could be implantation bleeding. It’s not my period.
Does anyone else find it extremely annoying that all of the symptoms of early pregnancy are the same as getting your period?
Saturday morning came and I took the next test.
Negative again. This time no tricks. There was nothing. No faint pink line. No shadow or evaporation line.
But no period, either.
Nothing. Two full days late. This never happens. I must be pregnant. I spent the day in a panic. Are we ready for another baby? Am I gonna feel sick? Should I drink caffeine?
I had one more test. Sunday morning I woke early and headed to the bathroom. I opened the foil and before it was wasted there was my answer.
I didn’t cry. I tried not to think about it. I told my husband as I climbed back in bed and he said he was sorry.
It felt weird to hear that. We shouldn’t be sorry. We have a baby. We have all we need.
But a little pretty big part of me was disappointed. The only thing that compares to the giddy happiness of thinking you may be pregnant is the complete contentment of knowing you are. I miss that feeling. On days I wish to feel that completely full again I remember…
I already am.
Right now,
this is what fills me up.
And they are enough.