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Thinking of you

15 Oct

Today I’m thinking of all of you who lost your little ones too soon.  Even as I’m approaching my daughter’s birth, not a day goes by that I don’t think of the 4 that came before her. I feel so fortunate to be in this position after so much heartache and tears…I hope each and every one of you out there still trying for your own miracle has a chance to feel what I am right now, and that somehow, my story can give you hope to keep going.

Sending all of you and your little ones love.

Courtney

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Transitioning to positive

27 Aug

Tonight Tim and I are going to visit the hospital where we plan to give birth.  I’ve been really excited for this because I’m a planner and I need to be able to visualize things in order to better plan.  There are supposedly new birthing suites that are really nice, with your own room and shower.  I’ve been looking forward to this for a while now, and I’m really excited to see where we’ll be welcoming this little girl into our lives.

Except, I’m not sure why I hadn’t thought of this before now, but it’s the same hospital where I’ve had to leave 2 of my babies behind and there may be some difficulty walking into those doors tonight.  I mean, the thought had crossed my mind that I’d be giving birth in the same place I had my D&Cs, but I guess I was choosing to ignore it.  But now that I’m facing it, I’m nervous.  Walking through those doors where all I’ve ever felt is sadness, fear, and grief, may not be easy for me.

I remember after both surgeries having a hard time leaving the hospital.  What remained of our babies were no longer in me, I was empty and I was leaving them behind in the fluorescent lights and medical waste receptacles, not in my arms.  Those moments still stand out to me.  I left my hopes and dreams behind in those sterile and cold walls; going home was the last thing I wanted to do, where only tears and devastation were waiting for me.

I know I have been given a gift to turn these experiences into something positive.  To make that hospital into one that will give us life, instead of one that takes it away – a gift that so many have unfairly not been given, and I do not take that lightly.  I know that if I can get past the initial sadness it may give to me, it will be followed with so much joy and love.  And for that, I am deeply blessed.

Nothing will take away from what I’ve gone through.  Nothing will erase the pain of those losses, of having my babies so unfairly taken from me.  But tonight I will walk in focusing on the little being inside of me, the one that is still thriving and growing – the one that fought so hard to be here – while remembering the ones that came before her.  It’s time for me to reclaim my hopes and dreams, and finally take them home with me.

2 years.

11 Feb

ginko leaves

Two years ago today, on February 11th, 2010, my life dramatically changed.  In the matter of an hour, the innocence I had once held, was stolen from me in a rush of blood.  I went on to experience an all-encompassing grief that I had yet to know.  It’s taken me two years and two additional losses to even come close to recovering from that night.  And in many ways, I know I never fully will, nor do I want to.  It’s too much a part of who I am now.  Of who I’ve become.

I had lost a pregnancy prior to then, but I lost it before I even knew there was something to lose.  And for me, that made all the difference in the world.  I was sad, but was able to move on quickly because I figured it was just a fluke.  As soon as I got that positive pregnancy test that next January, the hope of what was to come, took me over.  We were going to have a baby.  Everything else that had once mattered, no longer did.  That was it.  And now as I look to becoming pregnant for the fifth time in the next coming months, that hope that was once there has been been squashed, trampled, twisted and abused.  Left out in the cold and unloved.  I fear hope possibly more than I fear another loss.

Because with hope, the fall is so much further.

But it creeps in, no matter how hard I push it away.  That’s what happens when you want a family with every ounce of your soul.  Hope is a resilient little thing, constantly finding the cracks in your hand-built cement wall.

Except I’m onto you, hope.  I know you change forms and wear masks.  I know that if hope of a baby of our own doesn’t happen, that the hope will change paths.  I will create an entirely new hope for an entirely different road, one that might bring happiness in a different form.  That’s the difference between now and then, that’s what 2 years and 4 losses has given me.  And if the hope of a baby from Tim and I is taken away for a fifth time, I’ll be ready to follow it in a new direction.  I’ll succumb to the loss of this dream for the chance of a new one.  I wasn’t ready two years ago today.  I wasn’t ready to face a plan that was bigger than my plan.  I wasn’t ready to let go.

I’m proud of the woman this experience has forced me to become.  I’m stronger and more compassionate – not just of others, but finally, of myself.  I’ve learned to let go of the control in this space, I finally know it’s out of my hands.  And if that took two years and four losses to get to, I’m thankful for it finally arriving.

Because there is a plan bigger than my plan.  And I’m ready to believe in it.

An unintentional gift.

4 Jan

If you haven’t already, please head over to Jjiraffe’s post to read “The Devastation of Pregnancy: A Profile of Courtney…,” where she describes my history with pregnancy loss in order to profile what it really means to live with infertility.  If you’re not familiar with Jjiraffe and her fantastic and inspirational blog, for months she has been tackling the New York Times’ inaccurate coverage of what it means to be infertile.  She is a brilliant writer.  I’ve been trying to figure out why they’re not busting down her virtual door and begging her to write these profiles for them.  Oh wait…that’s because she’s not interested in highlighting the 1% of infertiles who can afford unlimited IVF treatments just because they thought it would be cute to have another baby well into their forties.  Right.  So please, if you haven’t yet read her piece, please do so now.

I was lucky enough to get a chance to read this before she posted it, and as I read each beautifully crafted word, tears fell in a steady stream down my cheeks.  For the first time in two years, I was getting to view my story from the outside looking in. As I read about this woman and her devastating pain from each of her four losses, I was profoundly sad for her.  I cried for her and what she had gone through.  I was awed by her resilience.   I wanted to reach out to her and wrap my arms around her, to tell her how very sorry I am for her losses.   Not once did I get angry at her for “allowing” those babies to die.

Ever since that fateful day in February of 2010 when I lost my second pregnancy, I have blamed my body for being inadequate, for not doing what it’s supposed to do.  That blame, of course, was heightened when I went on to lose a third and a fourth.  I refused to be kind to the body that stopped my babies’ hearts.  Through what feels like hundreds of sessions, my therapist has been urging me to be kind to myself, to nurture my body and support it like I do for so many other women going through this.  But despite our work, I’ve been unable to find the compassion for myself and for what I’ve experienced. I can’t get past the fact I feel like I’m to blame, that my body failed me.

When I read Jjiraffe’s post, the compassion I’ve been seeking for myself and my unimaginable loss, came flooding in.  Although the post was meant to highlight the inadequacies in the NYTimes’ coverage, it did so much more for me.  It was a gift.  After reading her words, I want to take care of that woman and her grief.  I want to nurture her and love her, not berate her and blame her.  The woman in her story doesn’t deserve that.

Jjiraffe, I will never be able to properly thank you for the gift you gave to me with this post.  The woman inside of me that has had to deal with my lack of compassion for two years straight, thanks you.  I’m wrapping my arms around you, too.

Now, if you still haven’t read it, what are you waiting for?  Go now.

I need to get all of this out.

25 Aug

I haven’t been able to blog much this month besides the photos, and it’s been frustrating because the things swimming around in my head haven’t been able to get out and that doesn’t make for a very settled feeling inside.  I keep trying to find time to get on here and it doesn’t come, and it’s been very disappointing.

Today I’m meeting with a Reproductive Endocrinologist at one of the top reproductive clinics in the country and I can’t figure out how I feel.  I can’t remember if I’ve admitted this yet on here, but I honestly feel like I’m not going to be able to do this.  That I’ll have one more loss and that will be it.  I can’t do this for much more.  This sadness and grief that is ever-present is just so tiring and to think about prolonging that for another 2 years…it’s too much to bear.  I’ve felt a weight pulling me down for two years now that I can’t even remember what it feels like to be truly happy.

If I can’t do this, I need to move on.  I need to find a way to get my happiness back and I honestly know that won’t be possible until this chapter has been closed.  I’m scared to death that the last page will turn and there will still be no baby there to fill this hole.  I’m scared to live with that hole that will undoubtedly never go away for the rest of my life.

I feel like the only other option for us will be surrogacy.  But the cost of that is frightening; the only way for us to do be able to afford it would be to find someone we know – friend or family – to do it for us.  But how do you ever ask someone that?  How would you ever repay that person for giving you the biggest gift imaginable?  I would forever feel indebted, unable to show them how incredibly grateful I am.  I wonder how I would handle it.  I’m the type of person who thinks about others before myself, to the point where I will do whatever it takes to keep them happy, at the cost of my own happiness….how would I ever be able to handle the pressure I’d put on myself to show my appreciation?  I don’t see it being possible.

Yet I don’t see another way to do this.  Adoption is out of the question, and I would most likely just miscarry an embryo through IVF, so it’s down to these two options – trying one more time and most likely miscarrying, or surrogacy.  What the hell.  Do you know how shitty that is?  I’m supposed to be able to do this.  I’m supposed to be able to procreate, and yet I’m failing.  I know it’s not me or my fault or blah blah blah….but ultimately, how can you deny that my body has failed to what it’s supposed to do?  How can people honestly see a way around that explanation?

I’m excited for the appointment only because I’ll finally be able to talk to a specialist, except my excitement stops there because my gut is telling me they won’t be able to tell me anything new.  That they’ll say I just need to try again while we cross our fingers.  How long will they tell me that?  How many more losses will result in that very same approach?  I think I have one more in me, then I’ve reached my limit.  I just can’t do this to myself any more.  4 losses are more than any one should ever have to go through and 5 is an even more overwhelming number.

I realize this has been just one long release of emotions…but they’ve been bottled up in me for a while now because I’ve been working so much I’ve had no time to get it out and that’s what this blog is supposed to be for.  I’m afraid the RE is in for an emotional meeting with a very upset patient in a few hours.  I can’t believe I’m at this point where I need help doing this.  How did I get here?

Sometimes, it’s just too much.

4 Aug

I couldn’t sleep last night.

I couldn’t sleep because I’m exhausted.

Right before I shut the light off, I told Tim how hard it is sometimes to keep living the day-to-day while going through something like this.  It feels impossible to process this kind of loss and grief when, for the almost two years I’ve been battling this, I’ve still been waking up every single day and going to work, coming home, making dinner, going to bed, and waking up all over again.  Every day my actions are pretending that I haven’t been going through this incredibly life-changing ordeal.

I’m not saying I want a medal, or recognition, or even a slight pause or glance from anyone else….what I want and need, is a pause from myself.  As I shut the light out, I had visions of a month away in solitude;* a month break from everything in my life just to process the huge weight of these losses that I’ve been carrying with me.  It feels impossible to do so when your daily life is still present, acting like nothing happened (how dare it!).

With each loss, a part of me has shifted permanently.  And yet a very large part of me keeps having to go on like nothing has changed.  Which is completely and utterly fair, I understand that…it’s life after all.  But all I ask for is a break.  I think I’d even take a week at this point to process it all.  Two days a week that are usually spent helping to take care of my step-daughter is not enough.

Before I went to bed I recalled what a friend told me earlier in the day: that my acupuncturist is no longer working on pregnant women.  I know it’s not mine to take on, but I felt an immense amount of guilt take over me when I heard this.  The day I found out I had lost the fourth, I called to cancel my appointment that was planned for the next day because there was no point.  I had left it on his voicemail, telling him the baby was gone.  The days following I felt unfairly betrayed by him and still do.  Prior to this last pregnancy, I had tried everything Western medicine was willing to do for me at the time, and I wrongly laid all my hope on acupuncture.  He was going to make it work, he was a miracle worker after-all, and I had friends who were proof.  But it wasn’t his specialty and I knew that and I need to stop blaming some of the loss on him.  It’s just easy to do because there’s no one else to blame.  As a result of my disappointment in his hands, I haven’t contacted him since.  Despite my therapist’s wish for me to see him so he’ll help my body heal, I just can’t do it.  And now I find out he’s no longer accepting pregnant patients.  There is no way that this is not a direct result of me and my loss.  I felt while I was seeing him that he had a special fondness for me and my case.  With my loss, he lost some of his hope, too.  And now pregnant women throughout the area are missing out on his miracle hands, and it’s all because of me.  I know that with this change he’s just admitting that it’s not his specialty, but it still stings to know I was the cause of that.

I just need a break from all of this.  Two years and four losses amongst daily life feels too much for me to handle sometimes.

* I’d like Tim to visit, please.  A month is too long away from that part of my life.  

Unfavorable odds.

10 Jul

Last night was the first time since June 1st that I’ve really lost I it.  I was a crying mess; hyperventilating and shaking, asking Tim over and over why this was happening to us.  I think up until then I had had it in my head that this wasn’t going to happen for us, that I needed to accept the fact it was over, that I was going have to give up.  But something last night finally hit me and I became terrified.  I crawled into bed and woke Tim up hysterical, burrowing into his arms in need of the comfort only he can give.

It made me realize I’m not ready to accept that I might not be a mother to a child I birthed, but I am so scared that that is my fate.  I feel like there is probably a 10% chance I’ll be able to do this – the remaining 90% will have to be either surrogacy or accepting life without motherhood.*  Do you know how hard it is to be okay with those kind of odds?  My instincts have rarely proved me wrong, and it’s frightening that my gut is telling me that everything I grew up wanting, is being forced to change.

I’m thankful that out of my hysterics, my desire to not give up was reawakened.  I realized I’m not ready to wave the white flag and accept that 90%.  I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I think I have one more loss in me.  I will pray to whoever will listen that I won’t have to go through another one, but the only way to keep trying to do this with my body is to be okay with another loss.

I have an appointment with my doctor this week and we’re going to discuss what to do next.  I know she wants me to wait a while to try again, but I waited a whole year just to lose another one and I refuse to waste that time again.  I don’t regret the wait, but it pains me to think how much further along this path we could be if we hadn’t.

I’m ready now to find out what this outcome will be and how many more tears will be shed.  I just want this nightmare to be over and  my life to stop being in a perpetual state of pause and suspense.  It’s not a way to keep living.

* Tim and I have discussed adoption and we’re not sure it’s an option for us.  I guess that’s for another post.