Wednesday, May 19, 2010

waiting and thinking, thinking and waiting

Well, I think the worst has passed physically, in that my cramping is very minimal and the bleeding is trailing off. Emotionally, on the other hand, I still feel like a train wreck.

I am numb. It takes so much energy to get excited about anything right now, to hold a conversation with someone, to remember details, to even put a smile on my face when I'm spending time with Super Boy so he knows that yeah, Mommy is sad but everything is okay. I feel like I'm going through the motions of my normal life but the meaning is lost right now. I know this will pass, but it's unnerving. If I could give in to my urge to crawl into bed and stay there indefinitely, I probably would. I suppose I'm grateful that my "real life" beckons, and I have to take care of my son and my dog and my house, at a minimum, so I simply can't let myself get sucked into a major depression over this.

But friends call or email and want to get together, and I can't. I just can't. I know it might make me feel better to be able to talk about it with them (especially those who have gone through it themselves) and cry on their shoulders a little bit, but honestly, I feel like my grieving process is the only private thing I have left with this. I realized that I've shot myself in the foot, so to speak, by talking so openly - here, on Facebook, on my mom websites, and in person with people - about our whole struggle to conceive. I felt obligated to tell everyone that I WAS pregnant and then to inform them that now I'm NOT. I can write about what it feels like, what I'm going through, but to actually sit with someone and cry about it with rivers of tears and snot running down my face, my arms wrapped tightly around my middle to keep it from falling apart, and let people see me in the midst of the mourning is just not something I can do right now. This is all I have left.

I had to go in for a follow-up hcG test this morning. My doctor didn't mention that when I was in his office last week, but when I spoke with his nurse Monday, she gently told me that I will have to go in weekly until the number is below 5 again. I sat there in the blood draw this morning thinking that the last time I was there, I got the best news ever a few hours later, that my hcG was 99.6 and I was definitely pregnant, at long last. I know the news this time will not be happy. My hcG should be dropping. While that is what is "normal" in this situation, it makes me miserable to imagine it.

I'm restless. All I can think about is getting back on track for IUI #4. If my hcG goes down fast enough, there is a possibility that we could try again in June, but then again the rational side of me knows that I should let my body rest, and wait until July. There's also the pesky matter of getting my period again at some point. Must have that before I can have another ovulatory cycle. I know my more practical side will prevail, but I'm not a patient person by nature, so the next 6 weeks (or more) of waiting will be torture.

And then I find myself trying to caution my heart into not getting its hopes up that IUI #4 will be our salvation. Just because #3 technically worked doesn't mean #4 will. I may end up disappointed again when that cycle comes to an end. Still, I can't help but hope. And - as stupid as it might sound - I hope that now that my body has finally accomplished getting pregnant again, maybe the skids are greased to make it easier to achieve again on one of our future attempts, you know? You hear about that happening sometimes.

Hell, I just read this morning that Kelly Preston and John Travolta are having another baby -- she is pregnant, and she's 47. If she can do it at 47, surely I can manage it at 36 with the helpful medical intervention of my fertility specialist! Right? Right?

aaaaaaarrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhh....

And then I have other situations that I don't know how or whether to deal with. Rather than go into detail about the situations (trust me, I've learned my lesson with that), I figured I'd post a few tips for people on how to help someone around you who is going through or has recently been through a miscarriage, now that I'm living it first-hand.

-- No matter how early the miscarriage happened or whether it was a blighted ovum or not, don't ever tell the person that they weren't "really" pregnant. If the person went through some form of fertility treatment to get pregnant and then miscarried under any circumstances, don't tell them that the treatment didn't work. If you've ever been pregnant before, you know that - deep down - when you see that positive pregnancy test or hear the doctor or nurse speak the words YOU'RE PREGNANT, you are all-in. There is no "kind of" or "not really" or any middle ground. Pregnant is pregnant, whether it continues to a healthy baby being born or not. And when it doesn't result in a healthy baby being born, you need to show compassion and respect for the pregnancy that failed. When fertility treatment is involved, saying the treatment didn't work only discourages the person from trying it again, which is not helpful because a person going through that needs all the faith they can muster to get through those treatments, and the reality is that the treatment DID work; the pregnancy didn't.

-- Everyone is different, so just because you may have been through a miscarriage yourself doesn't mean that the person next to you going through it is going to have the same exact experience with it that you did. They might be in more or less physical pain than you were (pain is a very subjective thing), it might take longer for their miscarriage to wrap up than yours did, they might take longer to heal or "get over it" emotionally than you did. You shouldn't judge them for their experience, nor can you push them into getting through their process any faster than they can get through it. You're only going to make the person feel worse - and angry - if you try to force them to "perk up" or "move on." Just let them be and be supportive.

-- Don't talk about the miscarriage behind the person's back. She may have told a million people already, but it's not your place to tell anyone else about it, or to discuss it with other people regardless. This is a heartbreaking situation, and if you're truly a friend, you've got to show respect and care.

-- Don't use meaningless platitudes like "I guess it wasn't meant to be" or "it's God's will" or "I'm sure you'll get pregnant again" when offering your condolences. If you don't know the "right" thing to say, just tell the person that you're sorry for their loss and will keep them in your thoughts or prayers. Really, just that means so much to someone who is hurting and mourning that loss.

-- Don't bring the person's age or other qualifying factors into your condolences. We know how old we are and the rates of miscarriage for our age groups, we know that we may have had fertility problems, and your bringing them up isn't making anyone feel better. Just say you're sorry for the loss and leave it at that.

-- Be gentle. Be respectful. Give us time to heal.

I'm going to take my dog for a walk somewhere today to enjoy the sun and clear my head. And then I might do some weeding in my yard that's LONG overdue. I'm in a very solitary place right now; I really need this time to myself. I'll be better soon enough, I'm sure. But right now, this is what I need.

Introspectively yours,
SW

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