At 29 I didn’t think infertility would even be a word used to describe myself or my experiences. I consider myself a person who loves to laugh, dance, and eat!
I remember as if it was yesterday – picking up a bottle of hot sauce and pouring it on chips. Thinking this odd, as I don’t typically eat chips or hot sauce, I decided to take a pregnancy test. Sure enough, I was pregnant. This was perhaps one of the happiest days in my life; I celebrated by surprising my partner with a big drawing on a chalkboard that described my symptoms and the size of the baby.
Unfortunately, things took a wrong turn and I had a missed miscarriage.
Being diagnosed with PCOS when I was 14 years old didn’t influence my lifestyle. I simply just wasn’t aware of what the actual problem was or that I could “fix” anything. Birth control was given at the time to improve how I was feeling and was ultimately, as I know now, only a temporary fix.
Fast forward to the present day – I am 29, about to hit 30, and am struggling with infertility, something I never expected to be faced with. My partner and I had been trying to conceive for about a year when we were told to explore the drug Letrozole. After a couple of months on this drug, we had a positive test! In short, with the right dosage, Letrozole helped me develop a good egg on the months I used it.
In that year of trying we have had to overcome a lot of obstacles of hurt feelings, sad emotions, grieving the loss of a child, all while trying to keep a smile on our faces.
Angry, lonely, and hopeful are the words I would use when describing our journey… along with a couple curse words in-between. I have to add the word hopeful in there too because if I didn’t have hope, I would have given up. We put our bodies through so much and then you add medications, stress, anxiety, you start to question your sanity.
Not understanding why I always feeling “lonely” was a huge motivation for joining a support group. My doctor suggested joining a support group when I told her I was starting to blame others for my situation. Having to take that mental health check was a little scary. It was hard to admit something was wrong and that I needed help. I happened to look on Facebook and found myMindBodyBaby. Little did I know this would become a lifesaving tool. If it wasn’t for the group I honestly don’t know where I would be right now.
A New Perspective
Reading the stories of others on the support group made me realize a couple things.
- I was not alone (even my partner couldn’t take away the loneliness)
- My feelings were validated (super important to someone in our situation)
- It is amazing how someone who is hundreds of miles away can give you so much comfort.
I would say this has been the best part of my experiences – nothing makes you feel better than having someone say “feel free to contact me at any time if you have any questions” and then they actually respond at 2 in the morning. Going through the miscarriage was incredibly hard, but this support helped me through it.
A glass half- full kinda girl
Being a glass-half-full kind of girl, I’ve tried to learn from this experience. I have tried to tell myself that this hasn’t made my life worse, but rather this has opened my eyes as to what I truly value in life. Have I cried myself to sleep on more than one occasion? YES! Have I felt depressed, anxious, unworthy? YES. Am I crying now? YES. The friendships I have made are amazing the hard conversations that were had made me/us stronger – and what more can you ask for in regards to support.
When it comes crashing down
Going through the miscarriage was one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through aside from the struggle to even conceive. I felt as if a piece of me was taken – a piece that I never got to smell, hold, or see. Deep down I knew something was wrong the day we had our first ultrasound appointment. There we were, waiting to see something, anything, and then they said “well it looks like the baby is measuring smaller than what we would like”, please come back next week.
I think a woman’s intuition knows, and I felt deep down that there wasn’t going to be better news in the coming week.
A week later I started spotting.
I went to the doctor alone where I was told I was having a missed miscarriage. I instantly started to feel guilt as if I had done something wrong. If I am being honest I still sometimes feel this way. To know something is wrong but to later have it confirmed was one of the toughest days. The days where you don’t want to get out of bed, where you don’t want to wash your hair, sleep or eat. In my daze, I worked up the courage to ask the support group for help. My doctor told me I could take medication to help my body process the miscarriage faster, and for my sanity, I did that.
The wonderful, strong, and beautiful ladies in my group all told me what to expect – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Many reached out in a private message to explain in detail what my body was about to go through. So when it all actually happened it didn’t seem to hurt as bad and I didn’t have unwanted surprises.
A good friend had also mentioned that she had spoken to a priest while going through her own loss, and the priest said “however long you were blessed to carry that child, just know that that child felt loved and that it would let go when you were both ready”. Regardless of religion, that stayed with me. The reason that stayed with me was that I had absolutely no idea what a missed miscarriage was. I didn’t understand why if I wasn’t going to carry full term, why was I still pregnant.
Having to tell my partner that our fears were confirmed and actually going through the whole ordeal was what helped me realize we could get through anything – my partner was my everything. I feel a little selfish saying this, but I didn’t realize how much I needed my partner until those bad days.
“It’s going to be ok”
As IT was happening – throwing up, cramping, and wishing I was no longer here, my partner stood with me, reminding me that it was going to be okay. The thing is, while going through the process it was easy for me to forget that my partner was also losing a child. I am forever grateful that he stood beside me, allowing me to have my moments of pain and agony when all along he was dealing with the same hurt. He will forever be my rock.
Having a doctor you trust is also very important. If it wasn’t for her giving me a hug, despite being in the middle of a global pandemic and telling me “it’s going to be okay”, I am not sure that I would have any strength left. I didn’t realize how strong I was until people were telling me that “it’s going to be okay”, and “you got this”.
Letting it out
When I finally decided to tell a couple of people about the miscarriage it felt great to know others were there to support me; to answer texts when I was sad, and to let me know they were praying for me. However, sometimes when we share our stories others don’t understand.
Insensitive words like “at least you are still young” or “at least you weren’t that far along” hurt more than punches and I would often shut down when these hurtful things were said. I know perhaps many people don’t understand that certain terminology can be very painful for someone experiencing infertility and miscarriage.
Everyone grieves differently and for myself, I was extremely connected to my pregnancy. Perhaps I was so connected because we had already gone through the process of trying and figuring out the problem. It didn’t matter in my case if I was five weeks or nine months – losing a child was losing a child. Many don’t know that I would read to the baby and just talk to it when I would get home from work. My partner and I are not married so we would say “well what last name would the baby have” and I would say “both of ours” but I quickly would refer to the baby as Olive, baby Olive. I never got to hold baby Olive, see baby Olive, sing to baby Olive, or change baby Olive, but, it’s okay. With time I have learned to say it’s okay and find some peace.
This whole journey has taught me many things. Value your partner, trust your body, thank your friends, and pray. Before my experiences, I would stress easily and have little patience. Since going through everything, I try to remind myself, on the days that are so hard, on the days where the depression is just too much to deal with, that there’s a rainbow at the end of this tunnel. I thought I loved my partner, but since these experiences, I love my partner a million times more.
My hope for you
Please never lose hope. Maybe that seems easy for me to say because I am only one year into my journey, while some women have been struggling much longer. However, I remain hopeful that we will have another successful round in the coming months, but in the meantime will be praying for sanity and for a better outcome.
Regardless of how it turns out, just know you are not alone. And, please reach out to someone because the nights can be the hardest –at least they were for me. Maybe even join a support group even if you aren’t ready to share.
I’m hoping in the near future I will be able to share news of my beautiful rainbow baby, but until then, thank you baby Olive for allowing me to carry you for 10 weeks. Thank you, baby Olive for allowing me to feel like a mother for a short time. Until next time, we will always love you.