Monday, February 22, 2010

Where I Am

Pregnant after recurrent miscarriage.

Pregnant after one loss, two losses, three, four, five, six losses.

That's where I am. It's a bit of a strange place to be. There are mixed emotions here in this place. It's a place of "if" when you desperately want it to be a place of "when." It's a place of uncertainty when you want nothing more than to be at peace, a place of "maybe" when you wish it could finally just be "yes."

The bottom line is that I'm very, very happy and grateful for another chance. I think my husband and I had come to a place where we were genuinely afraid we might not get another try. We wound up waiting three years for this second chance (or seventh chance, actually) and we are overjoyed to be making progress in this pregnancy. The majority of our pregnancies haven't made it this far. Two were over by the time we were 6 weeks along. One turned out to be a blighted ovum. The remaining three we actually saw on ultrasound, saw their hearts beating, but they were too small or had some other problem that raised concern with our doctors. Each time it was incredibly hard to pick ourselves up and find a way to start over again. All were hoped for, prayed for, and loved beyond belief by two people who wanted them more than anything.

What I want people to understand is that going through pregnancy after recurrent loss is very hard. It's not that I don't want to be where I am now, of course. This is what I've been working for and striving for, and why we've been seeing a specialist on a regular basis. It's why we've endured surgeries and tests and procedures for 9 years. This is why we've kept going. Once you've arrived there, though, it's hard to "just relax." (It's funny, that's what people love to tell you the whole time you're trying, too. It's much easier said than done, and we've all learned that relaxing doesn't make babies!)

Waiting to get pregnant is also one of the hardest things I've had to do. I would never try to minimize the pain of that experience. There is nothing easy about it. I find myself still thinking in terms of the 2 week wait that the person trying to conceive knows so well. Right now my appointments are 2 weeks apart, and in between I'm left wondering if everything is still okay, if there's still a baby growing inside. I can't help but feel some fear and worry during those times because I can't erase our experiences in the past. They are with me every day. No, I may not grieve those losses as strongly as I once did. Those wounds aren't fresh anymore, but they are certainly still sore. I think they always will be.

My fear manifests itself in ways that I recognize. I've been there before; I'm still the same person inside. I still cringe a little when people congratulate us on our pregnancy. It scares me to hear it spoken of aloud sometimes, as though it may be taken away just as soon as we begin to celebrate it. I still make plans for the future by saying, "If we have a baby in September..." or "If this pregnancy works out..." I don't want to be that way, but I just don't know how to be any other way at this point. Loss is all that I know. I don't know what it's like to get a positive pregnancy test and then get a baby to take home. Oh, I hope for it every day and I plead with the Lord to let this be the one! Sometimes I can almost even picture it and let myself imagine having a 3-month-old at Christmas.

But at the same time, I still have funny feelings about Mother's Day. I still feel weird and out of place when others tell me their pregnancy and birthing stories, as though I've now joined the club. I don't know if I'll ever feel like other mothers. I guess one day I might, but now it's so hard to imagine. I think part of that comes from the fact that I have been a mother to lost babies for many years now, and that goes mostly unrecognized by general society. I still feel a stab of pain when I hear others told how very blessed they are because they have children. It reminds me that no one ever looked at me as a barren woman and called me blessed. Somehow it is overlooked that a woman can have joy in her Lord and happiness in her marriage and fulfillment in her life -- and that woman is also blessed. Yes, even those who have sorrow are blessed. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4 (I wrote more about this subject in an older post.)

All that I know to do now from day to day is look ahead to the next appointment, the next chance to see what is happening inside. If it's good news, we celebrate each small victory and each step toward our dream. It's a strange feeling to have both fear and hope, uncertainty and determination, worry and trust. But it's where I am.


Jennifer said...

Praying for you. I can't begin to say I know what you are going through, but I think I would feel the same way. I love to read these updates! ((hugs))

Amy said...

It must be "remembering miscarriage" night on my blog list, because I've read about three blogs of women remembering their losses, and have written one myself. I'm so glad we have this community of understanding.
My sweet friend, I identify well with those early pregnancy feelings of "if"...of being afraid to say "when" for fear you might jinx something. The waiting is hard. You understand this more than most.
I continue to feel such joy for you in this, that you have gotten this far and that things are good. All we can do is keep praying...I think of the man who said, "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief." God understands that those things can coexist....the belief and the unbelief. So, we will continue to pray with hope, and give our uncertainties over to Him, because He doesn't expect more than that. Love you.

Michele said...

You've got so many of us praying for you!!! I felt so torn early on when we got the positive result. I wanted to celebrate fully, but we were very guarded in case it didn't continue. I can't wait to hear about your next u/s!!

Nity said...

Praying for you. Beautiful post about where you are. It's so hard to have faith and just trust that everything is ok. One thing I learned is that you cannot control what happens and so you can spend time worrying or you can spend time not. Unfortunately, it's not so easy to not worry... but praying that you have peace and that God continues to hold you.

Hope in Virginia said...

Stacey, I just cannot even imagine all the pain you have been through and I don't think that there is any way that that pain could not impact your thoughts, hopes and dreams.

I know, even from my much different, shorter, less painful experience with infertility, that even I have had a hard time accepting that we will actually have a baby someday. I just didn't want to get my hopes up because I felt like it would be so much harder to deal with if it didn't work out. Even now at 36 weeks, I still find myself thinking about the worst-case scenario. I've yearned to be a "normal" pregnant person who is able to be excited about the pregnancy right from the start. And that's just my experience. I can't even imagine what you've been through.

I pray that you are able to cast your anxiety on God and remember that he has you by the right hand.

Kate said...

What a beautiful post, Stacey. Thank you for helping us to understand better where you are and what it means to have lived through recurrent miscarriage. Prayer and more prayers heading your way.

Wendy said...

thank you for sharing so candidly in your post. I've had a much shorter, albeit still difficult journey than yours but with 3 losses on my belt,I know that even when we do get pregnant again for the 4th time (and if baby bean sticks) it will not be any easy journey ahead as I'm sure I will have the same fears even though the pregnancy progresses well. We just have to trust that God knows what He is doing and watch as life unfolds before our eyes. Hang in there!

~ Katie ~ said...

I know this is a hard time for you- even if it is also a happy time to. I think you are doing a great job- day to day is the way to go. Still praying for you.


Jenn said...

Still praying & believing.

DeniFay said...

I agree with Amy, it must be in the air. I was in the same spot and wrote on my other blog about my experience yesterday, that I think you would understand! I'll send you the link! Praying for success in each step, that each step will be a victory to be celebrated that many take for granted and never really Experience, just 'go through'. Maybe that's part of the beauty of being a babylost mom, each thing is exciting, when lots of pregnancies are only about the major milestones! Every day is a milestone. Enjoy it when you can and rest in God's provision in your uncertainty!!

~Anona~ said...

Love your post!

It really is a roller coaster after all the losses you have had. Hard to let go and relax for sure!

Each little one the Lord let us carry was a gift, and while we were not ready to let them go so early...we have hope in knowing we will meet them again.

When we finally passed 12 weeks with our son, we would thank the Lord for yet another day to stay prego. We simply went hour by hour and eventually day by day...until the little man arrived. Same with our daughter. At first it was hour by hour and day by day...all the while praying without ceasing.

Really like all your updates and continue to pray for you, Chuck & little baby.

Susan Sene said...

Thank you for being so candid - I had similar feelings when pregnant with Ri...although I only lost one baby. It was hard to balance the joy and fear at the samet time. Please know you are prayed for often! God bless!

Andrea said...

Beautifuly written and so honest. The "outsiders" think being pregnant again is a "fix" for our suffering. Truth is, we still suffer, we still grieve and we are worried and afraid of "what if". It's a very delicate, yet complicated process that takes tenacity and great FAITH to navigate and you are doing an AMAZING job.

Know that I pray for you always and send you love. Keep journaling and keep speaking from the heart, as its cleansing.

Many Hugs,

twondra said...

I think about you all the time and pray for you. I can't imagine what you're going through but I think about you a lot!

Birdie said...

Stacey, I can understand where you're coming from. After 3 miscarriages we are eager to conceive again. This time, we've seen 2 specialists and have a couple of interventions that may help us. But along with the eagerness comes that thought of "But what if I miscarry again?" In those times I have to turn it over to God and put my trust in Him. I will be praying that you're not overcome with fear but continue to look to Him & keep your hope and trust in Him.
Thank you also for the sweet comment on my blog. I too am looking forward to following your journey and watching God's perfect plan unfold for you. I look forward to the day I see a pic of your sweet baby!!

Stacy said...

Love the honesty, authenticity and transparency in this post.

"Loss is all I know."

Those five words break my heart and I am deeply sorry you've had to experience so much loss

I very much understand the "if" mindset. Praying that it will absolutely turn to "when." And praying that this is the ONE you have waited so many many years for.

Anonymous said...

I know this is much too late, but congratulations, Stacey! No one deserves this more than you! I can't wait to hear about your next u/s!

Katie said...

While I would never be so bold to say I know how you feel, I feel that I can at least identify. After so many losses (many early like yours), I found my first trimester/early second trimester with Will to be the hardest part of my infertility journey. I wanted to desperately to believe, to love, to bond with and in the pregnancy, but it was so difficult to do so, because that meant opening my heart up to hurt again.

I know many women in our position purchased dopplers to help with the anxiety. I never did because I was afraid to not use it correctly and cause myself MORE panic. Once I hit 18 weeks and felt movement, things got a bit easier. Once we hit 20 weeks and had the anatomy scan and saw everything was okay, it got even easier. I truly hope the same goes for you.

I am praying for you, your husband, all of your angels, and this sweet baby.

Sunny said...

Ahhh, Stacey....I know EXACTLY where you are. I'm with you and find myself in that place all at the same time. If I could use the word hate with freedom - I hate this place. It feels sort of like someone is toying with our emotions and messing with our heads. I pray that the next visit will be a great victory!

Renovation Girl said...

Sigh...the entire time I was pregnant I was a wreck. I loved being pregnant and embraced every sickness, twinge, etc., but I only relaxed when I held him in my arms and heard him scream. I hope you are able to enjoy of this pregnancy what you can, but I understand that fear and anxiety. I'm praying for all of you!!!

Becky said...

I can't imagine how hard this must be for you and Chuck. Even after one miscarriage, I don't think I could ever experience pregnancy the same. I continue to hope and pray with you. I so want this to be your "when."

I was so overjoyed to read about the results of your 3rd ultrasound in your last post. I was thinking about you and praying for you all day that day. I checked your blog as soon as I got home that night, but because it was so late I didn't leave a comment because I was afraid it would be incoherent.

PFM said...

I imagine I would be the same way if I ever got pregnant. You are cautiously optimistic and you have every right to be. I hope as the days pass you can begin to "celebrate" with less anxiety. Like you said, day by day.

Amy @ Experience Imagination said...

It is so hard. This time when you want to be so happy, but it's so scary as well. I even had "proof" that I could carry a pregnancy to term running around my house, and I still wondered and waited and worried.

May you be able to enjoy this pregnancy, amidst the fears and questions.

Annalien said...

I know what a wreck I was in my pregnancy following just one miscarriage, so I can only imagine how nerve-wrecking it must be after so many. I am praying that this little one will stick. God bless!