You’re Allowed to be Happy

We spent this Thanksgiving in New Hampshire with my husband’s family. It was wonderful! It was big and loud and full of laughter; just how Thanksgiving should be. As I sat, surrounded by family and friends my heart felt like it was going to burst! I felt genuinely happy.

After we stuffed ourselves with turkey and wine, I scrolled through my instagram. Post after post was about how sad it was to be  infertile on Thanksgiving or how it was ok to not be happy that day. I get it. I really TRULY do because I’ve been there. I would be almost 8 months pregnant right now if we hadn’t lost our pregnancy. I would be hanging an ornament for our unborn baby or decorating the nursery. If I think too hard about those things, I can spiral into a black hole. But this year, I chose to be happy. I chose to focus on the fact that I have such a strong support system. I chose to focus on the fact that I’m going to have a brand new baby nephew soon. I chose to focus on the things in my life that are going well. It’s easy to focus on what isn’t going well but I promise you will feel 1000% better if you focus on the good.

I was a little offended that my instagram feed was making me feel like I had to be sad on Thanksgiving because I’m infertile. I decided to leave instagram alone for the rest of the night. So here is some positivity on your feed.  You are allowed to be happy on the holidays.  Infertility does not have to equal perpetual sadness.  Remember that although it feels like there is a lot going wrong, there is also a lot going right. Also,

You are a goddess.

xoxo Kat

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Fluff Break

I’m a nerd. A HUGE NERD. Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Supernatural…those are my peeps. Fluff is a term in the fanfiction world that basically means sweet, little plot, no angst, etc.  So today I am taking a fluff break from all the anger, grief, and sadness of infertility. Today I’m going to talk about this guy…. (not a caveman.)

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This is Josh aka my boo thang, aka my ride or  die, aka my hot husband. He’s pretty stellar and without him I would be a WRECK. More than I am already. But I digress.

Josh and I met in college and it was NOT love at first sight. Obviously, I thought he was cute. In fact, I remember texting my friend a few minutes after I met him saying”Damn I just met the finest looking man.” However, he has a big personality. If you have ever met Josh you know he lights up a room the minute he walks in and he owns it. It’s one of the things I love the most about him, but the 20 year old introvert that met him was scared by it.

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We became friends quickly and would hang out every.single.day. The longest I’ve been away from him since the day we met is a month. And that entire month we were on the phone or on skype 24/7. He quickly became my best friend. I never anticipated it growing into more because I was so self conscious. I had the biggest crush on him but never in a million years thought he would like me back. I mean look at that face! HOT. STUFF.

However, one night he kissed me and told me he had feelings for me. “Deep feelings.” To quote him.  Instantly, going from friends to more felt natural. Like breathing. It wasn’t awkward or weird. It felt like I was home.

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Josh and I were engaged quickly and married even more quickly. This year, we’ve been married for 5 years and they have been the greatest of my life. Although we have been through a great deal in the past 5 years, I believe we have grown stronger and loved even deeper through it all. We have lost friends and family tragically, moved across the country, changed religious idealizations, lived pay check to paycheck, and now suffered through infertility and a miscarriage.

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Life is hard, but without Josh I honestly don’t know what I would do. He has made my dark days bright, my tears of sadness tears of laughter, and my struggle seem worth while. Through the hormones, weight gain, weight loss, tears, anger, bitterness, self-loathing, he has been my rock. My light in the dark. If infertility has taught me one thing, it’s that Josh and I can get through anything together. I would literally live in a box off the land with him and be content. He’s my favorite person in the whole world, and I feel extremely blessed to call him my husband and *future* baby daddy.

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Two Pink Lines

I debated when and if I should post this. I felt like I needed time to grieve, however I cope by writing.  This blog originally started out as an outlet for me when I was first diagnosed with PCOS. I never anticipated that it would turn into a comfort for many people and  introduce me to a community of badass ladies.  This blog has changed my life and for that I decided that I would bite the bullet and write about my miscarriage.

 

April was a bust. To say I was disappointed was an understatement, however I knew that the chance of getting pregnant on the first round of full treatment was unlikely.  When we started this month’s round I felt a bit more hopeful. A cyst that had given me trouble in March into April had disappeared and I was feeling better with the medication this time.  When I went in for my first ultrasound they saw not one, not two, but three eggs. I was speechless. My doctor had a “special” conversation with me about what would happen if all three eggs actually matured. She went on about the health risks of multiples and my options. She didn’t think all of them would mature but she wanted to be cautious.  The next week I went in for my second ultrasound and two of the three follicles had matured. They asked me if I still wanted to do the trigger shot to which I responded “Hell yes I do!”  In my mind the worst case scenario was I didn’t get pregnant, and the best scenario was I got pregnant. I didn’t care if it was one or two babies. I knew that I could handle whatever was thrown at me. The nurse assured me that my chances of getting pregnant were doubled and we hugged and giggled as I left the office. (My nurses rock by the way.)

Fast forward to two weeks later and I felt seriously depressed. I knew I was going to start my period. I just knew it. I was cramping, tired, and sleepy. It was frustrating and I didn’t feel like myself. I started seeing a counselor about my infertility because I was sure that was why I was depressed. The night before I was supposed to go back to the specialist to have my HCG test, I bought a home pregnancy test. *two weeks after the trigger I have to go in for lab work to check my hcg. *  I knew it would be negative, but for some weird reason I needed to see the negative test. I needed to prepare myself so I wouldn’t cry in the doctor’s office or at work the next day. I wanted to act casual about it all. After dinner, I went and peed on the stick and screamed when I saw it….

Two pink lines. There were two pink lines!

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I screamed and ran into the living room to Josh. He was in the middle of fixing something and had his toolbox spread around the room. I immediately dropped to my knees and began laughing as I pushed the test into his hands. ” It’s positive. Oh my God it’s positive!”

Casually,  he said “I don’t know that line is pretty faint.” After about a half an hour of us staring at the test in different lightings, settings, and under a magnifying glass we were convinced.

We were finally pregnant.

I took 4 more tests and brought them into the doctor’s office with me the next morning. I carried them around in my purse and my nurse laughed. When I showed them to her she said “Yep! These are positive!” She took my blood and two hours later, confirmed I was pregnant.

I was pregnant.

I couldn’t wrap my head around it. She then told me my hcg was low so they wanted me back in 48 hours to make sure it was doubling. She told me not to worry that it was just probably very early. (4 weeks in fact.)

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I can’t explain the joy I felt for the next two days. My dream had come true. I was a mom. This time instead of crying tears of sadness, tears of joy streamed down my face.  For the first time in a long time, I felt pure gratitude. My struggle felt worth it. We thought about how we would tell everyone. With mother’s day right around the corner, Josh and I decided we would surprise our mom’s on that day with the news. I imagined my mom’s face as she has been one of the most amazing people during this infertility journey. Other than Josh, she has been my rock and without her I wouldn’t be able to go through it with the strength I have. I imagined us crying and hugging, however I thought it would be out of joy and excitement.

Thursday afternoon, after my blood work, my doctor called.  I don’t remember a lot about that moment other than that I felt numb. I couldn’t believe that after only 2 days, my dreams were being ripped away from me.  I listened as she apologized and told me

“it’s common,”

“you probably wouldn’t have known”

“it’s what’s called a chemical pregnancy or early miscarriage”

“at least we know you can get pregnant, which is a step forward even if it doesn’t feel like it.”

When I realized she stopped talking all I could say was “this is a joke.” She apologized and told me it wasn’t a joke. I quickly thanked her and told her I would take off some time before I started treatment again. She understood and told me to call her on cycle day 35. I was at work when this happened and immediately told my boss I needed to go home.  I didn’t let myself cry until I got to my apartment and immediately called my mom.

We cried.

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Two days later I was on an airplane, in the middle of a miscarriage, on my way to visit my  hometown. It was the day before Mother’s Day.  Josh had planned this visit several weeks before when I was feeling homesick. When I saw my mom, we hugged and cried.  Honestly, if I hadn’t gone home to see my family I don’t think I would be able to function. It was healing to see my mom, my grandma, and those members of my family that have been in my shoes. It made me realize that I’m not alone. But it also gave me the opportunity to see that even though life can be a huge shit storm, I am surrounded by love.

I was only 4 weeks pregnant when I miscarried, but I was pregnant. After almost a year and a half I finally got pregnant. I say that sentence to myself out loud almost every day. It validates what happened, but it also gives me hope. I didn’t know how long it would take me to get pregnant. I didn’t know if I would get pregnant. Everything was a question mark until that moment. I read blog after blog and article after article about what my doctor called a “chemical pregnancy.” All of them said the same thing:

I was pregnant.

There was a live body of cells inside me and no one can ever take that away from me. For two days I carried life and even though the pain of loss is unbearable sometimes, I still hold the gratitude in my heart that I was able to conceive.

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To close this chapter of our journey, we decided to name the baby Amory. It’s celtic for brave. We are hoping to plant a special flower pot for him/her this Summer in our garden so we can always look at it and remember that there is hope. It’s coming. We just have to endure the storm. We have to be brave.

 

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Jenny’s Story

The following is a blogpost from my dear friend Jenny about her experience with depression and fertility treatments.

The Day I Yelled at the Worcestershire Sauce

 
Infertility has consumed me. Again. And taken such a heavy toll on all of us emotionally and mentally.

Trying to get your body back into a good groove after a loss is a slow, painful waiting game. Sometimes it just really sucks to be two weeks late and getting negative pregnancy tests. Like a really mean trick. I am positive (pun very intended) that I have spent more money on Dollar Tree pregnancy tests than I have on makeup or cosmetics. They have a term for my kind. POAS Addicts (peeing on a stick). It’s true and kind of gross, but also pretty funny.

After the dreadful wait, I was finally able to start Clomid again. It was exciting and overwhelming all over again. Even though I’ve done this four times before, the fifth seemed to be just as hard if not harder. There is so much hope, wonder, waiting, fear, doubt, and frustration. But a positive test is no guarantee. At least I won’t let myself believe that. Having a history of losses takes the fun out of a pregnancy. But a positive test is much better than a dozen negatives.

Another round of Clomid didn’t work either. And I am sad. We are sad.

At the beginning of October I started feeling extremely exhausted. I blamed it on a teething toddler that was constantly attached to me. His separation anxiety has gotten even worse, so sleeping has become a constant struggle. He has never truly slept through the night and will be 2 this coming March. A tired house is a hard house.

Thomas and I recently bought and expanded into an entire town home. We’d been living in the basement for 2+ years. While it was doable, it was tight quarters. It was exciting to “move” into a house and get everything organized. I thrive on cleaning, organizing, and seeing the finished product. I had a lot of distractions and plenty of things to keep me busy. I was still extremely tired but just kept writing it off as being a toddler mom with a lot going on.

Things were great! The new house was fun. We got to decorate, get new furniture, etc. I was happy, but I just couldn’t shake this weird feeling. My mind was happy, but my body wasn’t. I ignored it and kept myself distracted with the new house. I loved all of the fun, new and exciting changes. But I was still so, so tired.

And then there were days where I felt like I was having an out of body experience. When I was standing in a room with someone having a conversation, it felt like they were on the other end of a football field and I had someone else’s Coke bottle glasses on. There was a scary disconnect. A big, blurry wall surrounding me. Nothing felt real. I didn’t realize what was going on until I spoke up about it on Thanksgiving day.  I finally called my mom to try and explain this dark, gray cloud that was looming. At one point I even told her that I knew I was talking to her, but it didn’t feel like I was actually talking to anyone. I was just simply existing. Everything was very surreal.

Days were blending and time didn’t make any sense. I was confused about the day of the week and shocked when the clock said 3 PM out of nowhere.

I’ve always been aware of depression, but it had creeped up on me so slowly that I didn’t recognize it until it had completely taken over my everything.

I started asking around and looking into meeting with a mental health specialist, but I had no idea where to even begin. This wasn’t just mommy blues, this was real. My logical brain understood that everything was fine, but my emotional brain was so disoriented. It was so frustrating to recognize this but have no control over what was happening. I talked with my sisters about this very feeling and they knew exactly what I was talking about. It made me feel like what I was going through wasn’t completely crazy and confirmed what I was feeling.

Driving was stressful and gave me anxiety. My senses and reaction time seemed to be off and slightly delayed, so I didn’t trust myself on the roads with crazy Denver drivers. Driving felt like a video game, so I refused to leave the house. I didn’t want to talk or see anyone. I even ignored texts and calls. I got so desperate for sunshine that I took Lincoln on a 15 minute walk in windy and 30 degree weather. (I wasn’t aware of the temperature, but I had bundled us up and we were very warm!)

I told Thomas that I was so scared to leave the house, so I just kept cleaning because I knew I couldn’t mess that up. I could focus on a task and feel accomplished without having to worry about screwing everything up. I was on complete auto pilot. I was only able to do my job as a mom because I was so used to doing it. We were safe and fed, so I was content.

I never, ever had thoughts of self harming or hurting my child, so I consider myself very lucky. I kept telling myself how wonderful our life is and that I should be happy, but I just simply couldn’t.

I tried running up and down the stairs for exercise. Jogging in place. Jumping jacks. I was trying anything and everything I could think of to try and get rid of this feeling. I made lists of things like taking vitamins, eating better, etc. Absolutely grasping at straws.

All I’ve ever wanted is to be a wife and mother. During this low time I had zero desire to get pregnant. Even though we were actively going through fertility treatments, I just simply did not care about getting pregnant whatsoever. And I think that was my first clue toward diagnosing the cause of my sadness.

Speaking up, even before I was full aware of the severity, was the biggest step. I just kept talking myself out of these feelings and expecting to wake up one day and feel completely normal. But it lingered or just got worse. So I explained what I was feeling in the best way I could. It really is hard to put into words what you’re going through when you’re not even sure of what it is.

I started back tracking and trying to figure out when it truly started. I couldn’t pinpoint the exact reason, but a few things made more sense as I tried to diagnose myself:
– Lincoln was sick with a crazy stomach bug in late October, so I kept him quarantined in the house for 5 days straight. Cabin fever.
– My mother in law moved. She was the sweetest roommate and always kept me company when Thomas was working. One of my best friends was gone.
– Lincoln’s sleeping troubles were at their absolute worst (he nursed for 10 hours straight one night. TEN.), so my days were really hard with both of us overtired and cranky.
– We were hosting Christmas this year, so I was in overdrive trying to make sure the house was ready for company.
– Clomid.

The tipping point. I took Clomid to conceive Lincoln a few years ago, but I never had these sort of symptoms. At least I wasn’t aware of them. I think I was already having a bout of sadness before starting treatments, but nothing major. Adding the artificial hormones from infertility treatments was just too much for my body and mind this time.

I reached out to anyone and everyone I could think of that may be able to help. My mom groups and other infertility message boards.

Once I connected the Clomid to these feelings, it started making more sense. And by reaching out I found that others have experienced the same things.

I had no idea hormones could play such a vital part in mental health. I’m glad I know that now, but I wish I’d known that I wasn’t losing my mind and that it wasn’t my fault. The symptoms and side effects of medications are often disregarded or never even mentioned. I know so many women that are going through fertility treatments, so I wanted to put this out there. I wish I’d spoken up sooner, but I wasn’t even aware that I needed to bring anything up. If you ever take Clomid, keep an eye out for any odd changes in behavior or thoughts.

As for the Worcestershire sauce. I knew something was really wrong the day I couldn’t find the Worcestershire sauce and almost completely lost my cool. I remember getting so upset at the sauce. All I wanted to do was make my husband a stupid hamburger, and I was failing. I was slamming cabinets and shoving things out of cupboards. I gave up after a few minutes and just had to laugh at myself. I felt so crazy and it was such an absurd thing to get so upset about. But I did. Just a funny little anecdote on the kind of crazy things hormones can put you through! 😉

What Infertility Has Taught Me

Yesterday was the last day of infertility awareness week. If you follow me on instagram, you have seen my multitude of posts. This year’s theme was “flip the script” which aligns with the purpose of my blog beautifully.  I so badly wanted to post a video to describe my final thoughts on infertility awareness week, but the words escaped me. And honestly, I couldn’t get through it without crying.

Infertility is hell.  It is a pain that has no words to accurately describe it. It is a pain that you feel at a soul level.  However, infertility has taught me beautiful things.

Infertility has taught me compassion. 

Infertility has taught me patience

Infertility has taught me to love myself 

Infertility has taught me humility

Infertility has taught me that I am worthy without a baby

Infertility has taught me how to speak to others

Infertility has taught me to reach higher

Infertility has taught me the true meaning of hope 

 

The past 15 months have really forced me to look deeper. I have been forced to ask myself questions that are difficult and I have been forced to make decisions that are difficult. But I have also found a wonderful community of women that I never would’ve found otherwise.

My intention of starting this blog is still the same now. It’s time to change the conversation about infertility and women’s reproductive health. It’s time to start talking about it. It’s time to bring awareness to the silent struggle that millions of men and women are faced with. It’s time to stop feeling ashamed, lonely and lost. It’s time to flip the script.

 

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When Things Don’t Go As Planned…

For the first time in a couple of months, I’m actually feeling like myself. If you struggle with infertility, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  There are times when you feel so disconnected from your body, that you don’t even recognize yourself. I recently learned that when you are going through hormone treatments your scent changes. When this happens, you literally can’t recognize yourself.

It sucks.

Recently, we introduced injections to our round of medications.  I was not ready for the whirlwind of emotions that ensued shortly after my first injection.  I had already been feeling pretty crummy. March is not ever a good time for me for several reasons. This past March we had 3 Nor’easters back to back. For those of you that don’t know what a Nor’easter is…look it up. It felt like Winter would never end. March is also the month that I lost one of my best friends, so I haven’t been on the best terms with March in several years. On top of all of this, I had a major change at work. It was a great career change for me, but required a lot of training and time. I was emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted.

When my doctor told me we would be adding injections to our round of treatment from now on, I was numb.  It was just another medication to add onto the pile of meds I’ve been taking for almost a year and a half. She showed me how to inject the medication and told me when I would need to do it.  She administered it to me since it was the first time, and sent me on my merry way. “Baby dust to you!” She shouted as I left the office. They are always so positive.

That night I woke up at 3:30 in the morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. As I laid there in the dark I told myself this was going to be the month. I had recently had several friends get pregnant on their first round of treatment. Why should I be any different? I kept telling myself that if I would just think positive, it would happen. The month had started off rocky, but out of nowhere took a positive turn regarding my fertility. It had to be a sign I told myself over and over.  I obsessed about this for the next two weeks. I swore I was pregnant. I had done everything I was supposed to. I stopped drinking caffeine, and started eating lots of fruits and veggies. I kept calm and didn’t get angry even when I felt nauseous and tired from the injections.  Two weeks after the shot, I took my pregnancy test.  I waited the longest two minutes of my life and then….

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Negative.

I burst into tears. I had been telling myself for weeks that this month wouldn’t be any different from the past 15 months so I shouldn’t be upset. They had only added one extra med to give me a boost. If it didn’t work, I would try again the next month. I sat on the bathroom floor and cried for a good 20 minutes. I was so angry I pounded on the floor. I had been feeling so sick, I was sure that I was pregnant. However, it was just a side effect of the combination of medications  I was taking.  After this day, I lost myself for a bit. This has happened since we started this journey, but this time was different.

The self-loathing began to creep in.

I felt like not only had I let myself down, but my husband and family.  I felt like such a failure for not being able to do the one thing that is so easy for everyone else. For weeks I left my phone on Do Not Disturb. I ignored phone calls, texts, and invitations to go out. I didn’t want to be around all the happy people.

It wasn’t until I started my period that I felt better. I wasn’t pregnant, and AF was a huge reminder of that but it also gave me something that I haven’t had in a year and a half…

My body was working.

It hit me like a load of bricks when I realized it. My body was working! My reproductive system was waking up and realizing it had work to do! I shook off the fog of self-loathing and depression and stepped on my yoga mat. (Surprised?) I reconnected with myself on the mat, and showed my body the gratitude and love it needed. Finally, I began to feel like myself again. The weather warmed up and so did my heart.

I know that I don’t normally share my personal journey too much on here, but I felt like someone needed to hear this. It’s easy to let negativity, depression, and self-loathing take over when things don’t go as planned. It’s easy to be bitter and angry. But it doesn’t change the fact that my body doesn’t work like a normal female’s.  It doesn’t change the fact that I can’t get pregnant without the help of science. It doesn’t change the situation, it only makes it worse.

To my sisters and brothers struggling with infertility:

It’s okay to be angry, to be depressed, and to be sad. But don’t let it take over your life. Although it sucks and is unfair, life is so beautiful. There is so much to be thankful for.  Remember to love yourself and when life is hard, love yourself even harder.  Find the good in your day and celebrate the small victories. Because even though things don’t go as you planned them, they always work out the way they’re supposed to in the end.

 

 

 

 

Brittni’s Story

The first day of my last period was 1/1/18. That’s easy to remember. Then I got pregnant. I knew immediately- not because of any womanly intuition or anything like that, but because I’m very, very regular. The day before my missed period, I wasn’t spotting like usual. The day my period would have begun, I bought 5 tests and passed them all.

 

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After telling my husband, we told our parents, his grandma, and his sister. Then we told Katherine. All on day 1.

I bought books. Like, 8 of them. I wanted to know everything. I meal planned with my prenatal vitamins to make sure what the vitamins didn’t give me, the food did. We house shopped. We got a preapproval. We prepared to start a family.

 

Over the next few days, I tried to limit myself to telling one person a day. I told my boss. My brother. My dad’s mom. The rest of our grandparents. Our friends.

It took a lot of work to find a doctor who would do an early ultrasound. I didn’t want to wait for anything- I wanted to see my baby. And we did. At 7 weeks, 3 days, we got to see a fuzzy ball of static, and a flashing white heartbeat. I left the doctor’s office with two ultrasound pictures, went and bought a DQ cake, and put them in the kitchen at work with a note that said, “Please don’t let me get fat alone.” We were going to make a Facebook announcement, but hadn’t quite figured out the best way to do it yet.

 

At nine weeks, on a Monday, we went in for our second ultrasound. It was uncomfortably fast. She found the baby quickly, then politely asked who we were seeing. She went to get the doctor I hadn’t yet met. As someone who has always dealt with anxiety, I started a mantra in my head. “Do not borrow trouble. Do not make a big deal out of this.” Then my husband said, “Well, that was weird.” This time, my anxiety was validated. The doctor came in and told us that our baby did not have a heartbeat anymore. It was just gone. Sometimes this happens. They’re so sorry for our loss. 10%. Not my fault. No more growth.

The doctor kissed my forehead, and told me to get dressed so we could talk about next steps. I lost our baby. We scheduled a D&C for Wednesday. I just wanted it out of me. I don’t mean to be callous, but as if it wasn’t bad enough to lose the baby, I was walking around with it inside of me. How are you supposed to try to get past something, when you’re literally carrying it with you? I was a walking graveyard.

I called my boss. He was wonderful, and he told the office for me. They sent flowers. We told our friends. They all met up with us and we went to eat sushi that night. All of our friends and family surrounded us with love, and have continued to be unconditionally supportive while we get through this. I can’t imagine going through this alone. I understand that for some women, the pain of telling people is the hard part. For me, it’s starting over. It’s being alone.

 

Thursday, the day after the D&C was done, I thought I was doing well. I wasn’t bleeding at all. I got up, visited friends, cleaned some… I was ok. Friday, I went back to work. Saturday, we hosted a beer tasting (that had been planned for some time). Sunday, it hit me. I started bleeding- a lot. I hurt- bad, and I hadn’t before then. I sat around with my heating pad and curled up in front of the TV. I cried.

A week after we found out, I was still bleeding a lot. There was blood on and off for at least two weeks. Every time I felt like it was over, it would start back up. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel real, and it’s like it never happened. This little person never really existed. But they did exist, and every time it stops feeling real, my body reminds me with a cramp or a blood clot. I’ve called my doctor’s office three times with questions since the procedure, and they’ve been wonderful. For someone who has always been very regular, unpredictable bleeding freaks me out. Maybe my body is still cleaning itself. Maybe it’s my actual period. Nobody can tell you how your body will react to a lost pregnancy. It seems that everyone really is different. I freaking hate the unpredictable.

From the moment we found out, everyone kept saying that it wasn’t my fault. That’s really hard to settle with yourself. I am a scientific person. I know that miscarriages happen. I know it’s 1 in 10. Still though- what if I didn’t drink any coffee? What if I didn’t drink for a month before the pregnancy? What if I started taking prenatals earlier? What if I was skinnier? Philosophically, sure, ‘this wasn’t my fault’, but scientifically, there must have been something I could have done to prevent it, right?

People like to say things, like “It happened for a reason” or “You’ll have a baby when the time is right” or “God’s plans are not our plans.” Please, don’t ever say those things to a family who has miscarried or who is struggling to get pregnant. It’s just not helpful. It only serves to invalidate their feelings, and comes across like they don’t have a reason to mourn. Their feelings are valid. Their mourning is valid. I got to a point where I’d call my mom and say, “life sucks, and this isn’t fair.” She would repeat back to me, “Life sucks. This is NOT fair.” I was sick of talking about it, but I wasn’t sick of crying about it. When the physical pain finally went away, the emotional pain really began, and it hurt. A friend described it as ‘post-partum depression, without the baby to hold.’ She was looking at my experience, but also speaking from her own. Looking at it now, she is probably right.

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It’s been over a month now, and we finally got the results back on our fetal testing. Our baby would have been a girl. She would have had ’45 x’ or ‘Turner Syndrome’. While she would have been fine mentally, she would have had serious health problems, including infertility. She was missing a chromosome. Turner syndrome is a non-hereditary genetic mutation. It happens in 1 in every 1500-2000 pregnancies, and of those, 1 in 100 survive. Those 1 in 200,000 who occur and survive live to have serious health problems and physical deformities. This was not my fault, and while I would punch anyone else in the face who might think to say it to me or my husband, scientifically, it actually did happen for a reason, and that reason wasn’t us. That reason was a genetic deformity that our baby couldn’t survive with. Why did our baby have that deformity? Beats me, but it sure as hell wasn’t for a good reason.

I take comfort in science and data. My doctor says that our next pregnancy will have a miscarriage probability of 1 in 10. That’s a very naïve view of the statistics. People who have had one are 4% more likely to have another than someone who has never had one. Only 2% of women experience two pregnancy losses in a row. Women who get pregnant within 3 months of miscarriage are more likely to have a healthy pregnancy. The vast majority of women who have had one, two, or even three miscarriages goes on to have a healthy pregnancy eventually. The odds are in my favor.

 

I’d love to end this post with a suggestion on how to deal with this if it happens to you Firstly, I hope it doesn’t ever happen to you, but statistically, it will probably happen to (or has already happened to) someone who is reading Katherine’s blog. Secondly, I can’t tell you how to deal with it if it does. I can tell you that it really isn’t your fault. I can tell you that you are not wrong for how you handle it, however you handle it. You do not have to hide it, but you can if it’s easier that way. There are support groups online that may help you. I found some comfort in the grief section of the What to Expect app. Your feelings are valid. Your anger, fear, sadness- whatever you are feeling- is valid.

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Statistically speaking, even if you do suffer a lost pregnancy, the odds are in your favor too. When I was pregnant, several people said, “Oh, you aren’t supposed to tell people yet, are you?” You know what you aren’t supposed to do? You aren’t supposed to tell a pregnant woman how to be pregnant. Period. Every time someone said something like that, I wanted to punch them in the face. If I had a time machine, I’d go back and do it. I hope every person who said that feels horrible that the implication of their words came true. Who are they to tell me that I should celebrate or suffer alone? Everyone’s journey is their own. Unless it’s solicited, keep your advice to yourself. The only advice I would ever give to a pregnant woman is to trust yourself. You are genetically wired to do this, even if you or a doctor had to help your body with the details. Do your research, but trust yourself. It’s going to be a long 9 months if you don’t.