Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Tuesday, October 17, 2006


The Unenjoyable Kind of Misery

For the last month or so, I've had a really tough time writing anything. I've had to force myself to sit down even a few times a week and bang out a blog entry, to say nothing of the other things I need to get done. My mind has been, for the most part, on one thing. And it's not something that really fits in with what I normally do here. About a month ago, my wife and I found out--for the third time this year--that we'd lost a baby.

We started trying to get pregnant about a year and a half ago. We did a really poor job of it, though. We really never paid attention to things like ovulation or cycles or such. It was pretty half-assed, at first.

But then, one day in December, I came home and my wife greeted me at the door, which is not her usual modus operandi. She broke the news that we were pregnant. I hugged her. She cried. I cried. We went out for dinner.

When you've been trying for a decent amount of time and you finally hit pay dirt, it's an incredible feeling. Every waking thought was filled with babies. We got to do all the fun stuff pregnant couples do--reading What to Expect When You're Expecting; deciding on names; figuring out how to tell our families. I have to say that I have never been happier in my life.

Early January, we had our first OB appointment. We'd wanted to go earlier, but the eight week point was the soonest they would take us. The doctor's reaction to the ultrasound wasn't quite what I'd expected. She asked us if we were sure of our dates. The embryo, she told us, looked to be around six weeks, not eight. We didn't see a heartbeat, but the doctor told us that you don't always see one at six weeks. We left the appointment unsure of what we were being told. The doctor has said that there was a chance the embryo was "not viable". My wife had to do a series of blood tests to see if a certain hormone, hCG, was doubling like it was supposed to. We had to wait through a very long weekend before we got the results.

My wife called the doctor's office on the day the results were due and the nurse there said that things looked fine. Things were not fine, of course, and whatever nurse it was that told her that should be strung up by their ass hairs. After a couple of days of thinking we'd dodged a bullet, we got another call--this time from the doctor--telling us that, in fact, the bullet had hit us square in the chest.

I can't even really describe how it feels. For me, it was bad. I'd been walking on clouds for a month and then someone pulled them out from under my feet. As bad as it was for me, I know it was worse for my wife. In addition to the emotional weight of what happened, she had to deal with the physical aspects. We didn't tell a lot of people, because it didn't seem to be the kind of thing of which you notify people. One or two of the people my wife did tell came back with innocently spoken, but devastating comments of the "It's probably for the best" variety.

It was a rough couple of months. Eventually, we decided to try again.

In July, my wife had what's called a chemical pregnancy, which means that you miscarry before a heartbeat can be detected by ultrasound. You're just pregnant enough for your body to start producing hormones and long enough to get a positive home pregnancy test. Then it goes away.

So we had all of that in our recent history when we found out in August that she was pregnant for real again. It took a lot of the joy out of it, having to worry constantly that something was going to go wrong. All of the elation we experienced the first time was replaced this time by anxiety. We couldn't let ourselves get excited about it. Just in case.

At six weeks, we went in for the ultrasound. We were scared. The image popped up on the screen and we could see the embryo clearly, heartbeat and all. That made things seem real. We kind of let out our breath. The doctor told us that, if everything was good at the eight week point, we would be pretty much in the clear.

So we gradually started to feel optimistic. Instead of talking about the potential problems, we talked about the potential of moving to a two-bedroom apartment. We started talking about names again. I threw myself into providing my wife with the proper nutrition for an expectant mother. We got happy again.

When the eight-week visit came around, I remember being a little nervous, but not too bad. I'd gotten used to optimism again. So when we didn't see the tiny heartbeat this time, when the embryo didn't seem to have grown all that much, when the doctor kept readjusting the ultrasound's position, it took awhile for me to realize.

We still don't know exactly what's happening. We've done some tests but have no real answers. Our emotions have been all over the place and we've swerved violently back and forth between wanting to try again and wanting to look into adoption and wanting to give up completely. We're still in the process of dealing with it. We'll be okay, I know. But it sucks. I love my wife more than anything in the world. And the knowledge that I can't do anything about this is hard to deal with. It's not the fun kind of misery I usually deal with.

I'm really sorry for both you and your wife. I have a friend who just had a miscarriage. She talks about how people don't treat her like she's there, sometimes, because they don't know what to say, or how to react to her grief. Because people aren't sure how much grief and emotion is involved in a lost pregnancy, don't realize it's a lost child, hopes and dreams and a small person you were looking forward to saying hi to.

So I can only imagine how your wife must be feeling, for a woman, I think the guilt can be overwhelming. Wondering what you've done wrong and why your body wont' cooperate. She's lucky to have you, so you can lean on each other and grieve together. Because other people might not understand it's still a mourning process like any other.

I hope there will be a day when I'll be congratulating you on a new addition to your family--however that dream is realized.
I'm sorry. So terribly devastating. The roller coaster emotions, painful to even imagine.
I'm so sorry. Your wife and I spoke back in July/ August between the second and third pregnancies, and I know what a tough time she was having then. The recent baby boom amongst other friends hasn't helped with the grief, either, I know.

It's good you have each other. My thoughts, love and sorrow are with you both.
How horrible. I am so sorry that you are both going through this. It's not fair. Please let us know if there is anything that we can do to better support you. We will be thinking of you and sharing your grief.
My thoughts are with you. I can't pretend to understand but all I can say is to hang in there and think positively.
While Ly and I never actually lost a pregnancy, which I can't even begin to imagine the pain involved, we did try to get pregnant for a couple of years. I finally found out in July of 04 that my tubes are blocked and without overt measures, we wouldn't get pregnant.

It's hard to describe the pain, the wanting, the anxiety, to the people to which pregnancy comes without batting an eyelash.

Ly and I have now set our sights on adopting. It took a long time to grieve for what would never be, but eventually it was replaced with what we could give a child that needed a good and loving home.

However it happens J, I'm sure that you and your wife will, one day, be parents.

My thoughts are with you both.
I'm so sorry, Joe. You and your wife are both in my thoughts.
Folks, I'd like to thank you all for your kind words and good thoughts.

My wife and I are doing okay, we just have bad days every now and then. Last week had a bunch of bad days, which made me feel a strong need to write about what's been happening.

Again, thanks for your support.
sh*t, bro... sounds rough. my sister was pregnant with twins (her first pregnancy) and they both hit the eject button - a few days apart. she eventually went on to two full term pregnancies.

you never know, but one way or another, something will work out for you.

best wishes,
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