grief and loss · Infertility · iui · trying to conceive

Grieving a baby that never existed

It’s weird to grieve a baby that never existed. But we were so very hopeful this time around; given that it worked before, there were two eggs and a good sperm count, and everything seemed to be lining up so perfectly (again).

So when yesterday brought another negative test, I found myself in a very emotional place. I knew it would be hard if we weren’t successful, I didn’t expect the grief to feel so intense.

I grieve the loss of a life that never even was, the continued emptiness of my womb, the loss of all the plans of a pregnancy over Christmas and a baby or two in the spring. I re-grieve the miscarriage and I grieve in advance for the upcoming due date that will not have the joy of a healthy pregnancy to offset it.

I am sad. I am angry. I am disappointed. I am frustrated. I am empty.

And I’m going to feel very silly posting this if I simply tested too early with a cheap test and things come out positive tomorrow (the official 14 day mark) or AF never shows; but I really don’t have much hope for that at this point.

after miscarriage · baby EL · grief and loss · missed miscarriage · pregnancy loss · trying to conceive

When AF arrived

Spotting started Wednesday night, full AF the next day.

I’m actually kinda amazed that it didn’t cause another emotional setback; in fact it did the opposite.

I think by my body physically telling me that it has moved past the pregnancy and is ready to try again…it somehow triggered my heart and mind to do the same.

I can’t forget what happened. It will always be a sad thing, I will always wonder about this child and grieve for the loss and for what could have been. March 6th (heartbeat), 21st (miscarriage discovered), 29th (birthday) and October 27th (due date) will always be days I remember.

But I don’t need to stay in the darkness. It’s time to move forward, it’s time to try again and hope again (scary as that is). And for the first time in 8 weeks, I feel like that’s actually possible and attainable; and it’s lasted more than part of a day so it seems that’s really where I’m at.

So while my uterus empties itself and prepares to rebuild; my heart and mind are doing the same.

I’m ready to live life again.

 

after miscarriage · appointed time · grief and loss · Infertility · pregnancy loss

It’s not just our testimony

I read something last night that was really profound; and at least for the moment has pulled me out of my funk just a little bit.

Found a series of ‘letters’ on a blog while browsing Pinterest and what I discovered in the one written to “my future mom self” was this gem.

“I know you always imagined what an amazing testimony you would have one day, but it wasn’t just for you. It was for your children too. Because of their story, they will never doubt God as their Savior and King.”

That stopped me in my tracks. This journey of struggling to conceive and of now multiple pregnancy losses is only making it more and more evident that any children we may be blessed with are perfectly timed and perfectly planned by God.

And that’s not just for my husband and I to be able to say, “look at God’s faithfulness and goodness in what he did in our lives.” It’s so we can tell our precious children that not only were they wanted and prayed for and that they are loved by us more than they can imagine…but that God in his sovereignty has chosen them and has a very specific purpose for them that involved them coming into the world at the exact time they did.

I guess in light of that it’s a little harder for me to be angry that baby ‘waterbear’ was not that child. I can still be sad, and I still will be for a long time…but I think there’s a little less anger now and I can start rebuilding my trust in God’s faithfulness.

(Disclaimer: obviously God has a purpose for every life. Every child is ordained by him and is equally valuable in his eyes. I’m not discounting that. But it seems that this truth should sink a little deeper and feel a little more tangible for a child who comes after loss and after infertility.)

Link to article: https://www.in-due-time.com/fertility/a-letter-to-my-future-mom-self/

after miscarriage · grief and loss · journal entry · pregnancy loss

On the ugliness inside

I feel like I’ve moved into an ugly place.

Not only am I finding myself thinking and feeling some rather unattractive things, I’m also confused about why I’m still feeling so miserable. I wonder if there’s a sadistic part of me that wants to stay unhappy. I’ll have a good day that is followed by more than one bad day; almost as if I’m rebelling against the attempt at being happy by intentionally focusing on what is making me sad.

So that in itself is ugly. I mean, how shallow and pathetic is it to make myself think about how crummy everything is? I know I have so much to be thankful for, I know that my spiritual framework should be starting a rebuilding process and that I should be focusing on God’s blessings and goodness and leaning into him as I grow through this.

But I seem to be counting my misfortunes instead of my blessings. 

And on top of that, my attitude towards other people who have what I don’t is becoming callous and bitter. I found myself annoyed last night by my sister-in-law’s response to some painful Braxton Hicks contractions instead of compassionate and sympathetic. All I could think about was how selfish she was being by making a big deal out of something that I’d give an awful lot to have. And as she cried through the fear and the pain I was trying to keep from having a meltdown over the unfairness of it all and angered by her eagerness to have this part ‘over’ when it wasn’t all that long ago that she was desperate to have it too.

I don’t want to pray, I don’t want to read my Bible, I don’t want to try to journal and process this out (other than my blog posts) because I think maybe I’m not ready to let go of the hurt and anger.

Losing a pregnancy after infertility has revealed some really ugly layers of my heart and I’m not really enjoying that very much.

==============

But I have decided in light of all this that it’s time to make an effort to get “better.” There may be a sadistic part of me that likes being miserable but I know I can’t stay here. So I’m working on finding a therapist and going back to counseling, and have started the process of meeting with someone from my church’s care ministry.  I’ve also reached out to my doctor to ask if it’s wise to resume my antidepressants.

And maybe once we hit Thursday (the 5 week mark; the point at which the time of grief is equal to the time of joy) something will just shift and I’ll subconsciously just start to move on. Who knows. The mind and heart are strange beasts.

after miscarriage · grief and loss · Infertility · journal entry · missed miscarriage · pregnancy loss

4 weeks later

It’s been four weeks. In one week, we will have known that our baby had died for the same amount of time that we thought we were going to be welcoming that same baby in October.

Strange. It’s been a blur and it feels like it was just yesterday; how has the time spent grieving already almost passed the time rejoicing?

In terms of processing/functioning, the roller coaster has leveled out a good deal.

  • The ‘ugly crying’ episodes are fewer and farther between; even crying has lessened. Monday was rough though; it was emotionally exhausting returning to my doctor’s office for a follow up appointment and I’m so tired of having ultrasounds of an empty uterus.
  • The anger rears its head occasionally but even that has turned into more of a “Really, God? Why?,” “I just wish you had allowed things to be different,” and a more resigned “I still don’t understand why you would give us a baby that you knew we so deeply wanted and then just take it away.”
  • The depression is less intense; I’m able to function a little bit better and have found that sometimes I actually almost want to do things (like art or reading or going for a walk). I still don’t really do much, but at least I can imagine having enough energy and desire to pursue my interests.
  • I did notice over the weekend that it actually made me upset to be starting to feel better. I guess it was a fear (unfounded) that not being so sad anymore meant I somehow didn’t really love my baby all that much. Chalk it up to the myriad of weird emotions and stigmas attached to early pregnancy loss.

But all that aside; the aching emptiness is still there. And I hate it. I hate that in one fell swoop one of my deepest purposes was sucked away and that I’m left in the aftermath bearing an empty womb and an empty space in my heart that will always belong to a little waterbear that we will never meet this side of heaven.

Honestly, I’m still too raw to even hope for the next time. In a sense, there is hope and there is an eagerness to be able to try again (the waiting for a new cycle feels like such a waste of time)…but the greater part of me is still numb to the possibility of trying and afraid of what might be ahead-months of infertility or more devastating loss.

After all, God never promised a rainbow baby after a miscarriage or infertility. Some people don’t ever get their rainbows. At least not in this sense. So I’m trying to stay realistic but also trying not to lose hope that he will show us grace and demonstrate his faithfulness to us in this specific way.

It’s a weird place to be.

I’d much rather just be 12 weeks pregnant. But I suppose that’s a duh.

 

 

 

after miscarriage · grief and loss · how to · missed miscarriage · pregnancy loss

Various wisdom

I’ve had a couple of very wise things spoken to me in the past weeks. I have been trying to check in with people I consider much more mature/spiritually wise than I am (one of our pastors, a family friend who has counseled a lot of women in various things)…and these conversations have been very helpful overall in just verbalizing what I’m feeling and working through thoughts etc. But they also result in a thought/idea or two jumping out especially and giving me something to mull over or be encouraged by.

So in the interest of trying to use this space to continue to process and hopefully be an encouragement to someone else…here’s a couple things I’ve had shared with me that have made a difference as I process this grief and this loss.

When I talked to my pastor, I was days out from realizing how angry and upset I really was over what had happened. I know in some capacity that it is okay to verbalize our feelings (even negative ones) to God, and that it’s even okay to feel negative ones towards him as long as we do not sin in those places. I mean, the Psalms are full of expressions of hurt and confusion and anger. And God already knows what we are thinking and feeling anyway, it’s not a surprise to him if we express it.

So naturally, my pastor encouraged me to wrestle out these questions and hurts with God. To allow the truths that I know to be the framework to which I return eventually, but to be willing to acknowledge what is *real* for me in this moment even if that is not consistent with what I know in my head to be true. And then he had this insight to share.

Often, in our sadness and grief, we withdraw. Most people who are sad just want to be alone to cry, or be held in silence. But when we are angry, it leads to expression. We move towards the person we are angry with; and we tell them so. In this sense…of being a means to move us back toward him, maybe God actually prefers (poor word choice) that we be in that place of anger because it means we aren’t just isolating ourselves anymore.  (though this is not a universal truth; if anger is what makes you withdraw then the opposite would perhaps be true…*shrug*). It made sense to me. I don’t get angry often; but in the times of being confused and hurting it is easier to go to God and simply be honest about those feelings and it usually feels better after getting them out.

Then, earlier this week, I talked to my family friend. Of her insights (and there were several), the one that made the most impact to where I was in that moment was the following observation.

For Christians, because we believe in a sovereign God, suffering in our lives can often be a harder thing to understand and deal with than it is for a nonbeliever. Because if God has control of everything in our lives, then when really hard things happen to us that don’t seem to have a reason it’s natural to think that “God could have stopped this from happening and I don’t know why he didn’t.” And even if there is the faith that there must be a reason we also know that we may never know it and it’s hard to be okay with that.

Granted, we obviously have a hope and a joy and a confidence in loss and pain that nonbelievers cannot have; so at the end of the day we don’t grieve as those without hope…but for the nonbeliever, there is usually just the “well, life happens and it’s all chance” mentality that at least takes away the internal struggle mentioned above.

Somehow hearing that made a huge difference. Christians are constantly told that suffering is good for our character, that we should expect it, that God works all things for good…and that is absolutely true. But it doesn’t mean that we should be expected to instantly be okay when we experience suffering; and that wrestling with the questions of “why” is actually part of the process of God producing a deeper faith and a deeper relationship with him.

So in a nutshell:

  1. When our anger prompts us to move towards God, it’s completely okay to express those feelings. It’s better than withdrawing and shutting him out.
  2. Suffering for the Christian is deeply hard, and it is completely okay to not immediately be okay.

 

 

 

after miscarriage · grief and loss · Infertility · journal entry · missed miscarriage · pregnancy loss

Because I can’t reply in real life…

The ongoing saga with my sister-in-law continues.

I love her, I really do. She’s been a blessing to me, a friend and a sister from the beginning. She’s rejoiced in our highs and grieved in our lows. She’s fun and sweet and caring.

But as we’ve navigated this fertility and pregnancy loss journey she’s had her share of moments that make me want to just tell her what I think. It’s just not worth losing the relationship or burning bridges with my husband’s family so common sense tells me to keep my mouth shut and my fingers still.

[As a brief refresher…we started our TTC journey somewhat similarly and within a few months of each other. Initial unexpected (but still wanted!) pregnancies, early loss (mine chemical, hers a little later but baby stopped developing around 5 weeks)…and then within 8 months she was pregnant again and is due with her “rainbow baby” at the end of May. We tried for 15 months, did an IUI cycle, and after seeing a heartbeat, our baby died just past 7 weeks.]

I realized last week or so that the reason her pregnancy has bothered me so much (and especially now) is just that it is a stark reminder of how unfair this is. I don’t understand why they get their rainbow, their reminder of God’s faithfulness and grace…and we tried for months longer than they had to and then lost another baby. It just hurts. And she tries to act like she understands but as I explored in a previous post…you can’t be sympathetic if you haven’t experienced the same thing. So her attempts at encouragement and comfort often just rub me the wrong way.

Today she sent me a long text telling me about how she was hanging up clothes in her daughter’s nursery, bawling while listening to a song about God’s faithfulness and remembering how hopeless she felt in the 8 months that they tried and how grateful she is to be doing something so simple as organizing baby things…and how she is completely confident that this will happen for us too.

I have multiple responses I want to send. None of which I will, so this blog post gets to be my venting space.

  • “Oh, you know? Just like you KNEW that everything was 100% fine with this pregnancy?”
  • “Yes, the hopelessness of trying for 8 months after a miscarriage and then having a successful rainbow pregnancy is the same as trying for 15 months and losing what should have been our rainbow baby. I’m so grateful you know exactly how I feel.”
  • “I’m glad God is faithful to you; but it’s really hard right now to see his faithfulness to us at this moment after infertility and recurrent losses. And thanks for reminding me of that *and* all the happy baby related things you get to do while I’m still actively grieving the loss of mine and the further postponement of getting to do all those things myself.”
  • “Oh please, tell me more about how blessed you are to be bawling in your baby’s nursery. I’m sure that will make me forget that I’m once again not pregnant.”

Yeah, I know. I’m sarcastic and bitter.

Loss and infertility will do that to you sometimes.

Looking forward to a day when these well-meaning comments don’t make me want to crawl into a hole and die.