Monday, August 1, 2011

Infertility & Baby Loss, Comments Addressed

Again, thank you to those who commented on my Infertility & Baby Loss post. I truly do want to understand. I have found the parallels between IF and baby loss to be strikingly similar and enjoyed the responses. My writing below is jumbled and unorganized. They're each separate thoughts as I tried to touch on your comments. It makes for one mess of a blog post, but hopefully connects us better in thought.

First, I hope that none of you were offended by my words. My intention was only to piece through my own thoughts after reading countless amounts of infertility blogs and understand them better. I guess because I find myself so familiar with the many thoughts women who struggle with IF express on their blogs, I wanted to open it up to conversation.

Never would I think that women who struggled with IF for years and will struggle with it for the rest of their lives (even if they don't want children/more children, they still live with IF and the knowledge that conception is not a natural option) will carry on and forget about how hard that time in their lives was for them. To learn from many of you that it's painful just knowing that you cannot ever become pregnant with your husbands the old-fashioned way made it very real for me. There's something very special about knowing conception can occur in the company of your home and not a sterile doctor's office. That's something I do not take for granted. That is definitely something to grieve, I understand. I firmly support IVF and all fertility treatments that help women who suffer from IF achieve their ultimate goal of motherhood. I know that if my struggle (since we all have them) were IF, I would do whatever it took to see that our dream was fulfilled by IVF, FET, IUI, or adoption.

The grief of lost time and money is not lost to my ears eyes.

My heart swells for those who have never been fortunate to carry a child at all. It's such a special experience that I grieve for you. I don't have any clue what it feels like to hold my living child in my arms, but I am familiar with pregnancy and that joy. It should be a gift given to every responsible woman. Any time we have with our children is precious-- no matter if that means in utero alone, as a newborn, a toddler, or their entire lives. Ideally, we'd conceive and keep them for eternity. I love how Tiffany put it by saying, "...I feel like just having the opportunity to have them (even for a few weeks in utero) is a win." It's something I don't think of nearly enough and give thanks for nearly as often as I should. The greed of wanting it all overcomes me and I feel entitled too often because 99% of others carry on without baby loss grief. Being thankful for the small victories and blessings is not a pill I can easily swallow.

I notice that many who are successful in their IF treatments and complete their family wish go on to have blogs that almost don't resemble their past. As if those IF girls bring them down and they want to graduate from this issue. That's where the whole graduation thought came from. I see it with baby loss blogs, too. Your past always affects your present and future, at least in my life. I do not think that dwelling on your past daily is important either. We all carry on from grief in our own way. Merely an observation and not a judgment. I don't blame anyone for just wanting to be normal. I'd give just about anything to rewind time and have that happy, bubbly pregnancy blog about a living child and all that crap. I don't want to be a baby-loss-mom. None of us do. I want to be a stupidly smug mom of a chubby boy. I wish I could "graduate" to that level but know it's not possible. I do hope that it becomes less of a scab and more of a scar as time presses forward, but nothing is guaranteed.

The jealously many of you mention in seeing families who seem to become pregnant by drinking the same water is understandable. No matter how many children we have, I'll always be jealous of others, too. For me the jealously is seeing that they got to keep all their babies and for those who struggle with IF, it's seeing that obviously pregnancy wasn't a struggle for them.

The flippant conversations of "We weren't even trying", or "I've was even on birth control!" or "This is our last one, I swear" makes me seethe is anger and jealously, too. It seems like those babies never end in miscarriage or stillbirth, either. To have an oops baby. Hah.

Not feeling like you belong in any community after birthing live children seems similar to baby loss as well. I know that when I was fresh into my grief journey, I wanted to find those who experienced their loss at the same time and under similar circumstances as myself. I wanted to know that others were brokenhearted and not parenting other children. Baby loss is not selective. I lost my firstborn but have friends who lost their second, third child. I have felt those feelings of injustice that they carry on being an active parent but I'm still stuck in a zone of not even being acknowledged for ever birthing my child. On the outside, no one can tell that we were ever pregnant or have a fully decorated nursery just bursting at the seams. I was jealous of those who had living children despite losing others because they still had a child/children to hang onto. I am carrying on better about things right now, but I still long for what it's like to actually witness my own live birth. After I have another child, I will probably feel the same way-- still wanting my foot in the baby loss world, but also wanting to be a part of parenting in real life outside of my grief. That's a post for another day. So many thoughts loom through my head about that one.

One of you spoke about how at the end of an infertility treatment, a healthy child is the coveted outcome. While that "new" child will bring you great amounts of joy, it doesn't erase the sadness and past wounds of struggle over the years. Perhaps the scabs will fade a bit, but they always leave a light scar from years of abuse to your body, and soul. I bet that's how us BLMs feel once we have a "rainbow" baby. I'm not much a fan of the term... just not my style. But I acknowledge the meaning of that beauty and calm after the storm. While the storm existed and will always be a part of us, the rainbow brightens the future. This may be the triumph for us all. But I bet we'd all give up the fight to have boring conceptions, pregnancies, and births. I know I would.

Thanks for your thoughts and sharing your hearts. I wish you all the best and of course, babies. :)


Becky said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for writing this. I have had a lot of the same thoughts and feelings as you and many others it seems. I did IUI with Liam and am ttc using IUI again. I would prefer to use nothing at all of course but then when I see myself complaining about how bad it sucks I think about all the people that have to do IVF or can never conceive at all and try to put myself in there shoes. Either way it sucks, especially after baby loss.
I def. had a hard time with other blm's who had another living child at first also. In a way I was jealous like you of that. I hated that no one outside of who was close to me knew I had a was ever pregnant and had a nursery and wanted my baby so much.
I also wonder about what its like to parent a child outside my grief. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on that.
Thanks for sharing all of this

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

Blogging really is like one big book club. Today's book - Brandy's blog.

But you have such great words and articulate your thoughts so well. I really liked what you said, "It should be a gift given to every responsible woman." - I'm just glad you threw "responsible" in there. I hate that you need a drivers license to drive, you need to be 21 to legally drink, yet MORONS are getting pregnant every day and flat out don't deserve it. It's cruel and bothered me even before suffering a loss.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I'm starting to accept the fact that I am part of the recurrent BLM club, and its pretty awful. While not the same as IF, I can relate to so much of what you said in this post.

Addi's mom said... [Reply to comment]

haha I agree with Caroline’s book club comment!

I talked with a NICU nurse this weekend and she shared with me that she and her husband never were able to have their own children. She said she took it as a sign from God that they were not meant to have children (which I don't believe, but I wasn't going to argue "her truth" with her). She said that even though we were not able to keep Addison we were lucky to have a baby waiting for us in Heaven.

I do feel lucky that we were able to have a baby at all, that I was able to get pregnant and did get to have those 40 weeks and 5 days with her, but as you know, it still wasn't enough. There are lots of times I am so appreciative of that time, but those times when I cry so hard it hurts it's easy to forget.

We all experience loss (BLM/IF) it's different, but kind of the same. I feel like there is solidarity between the two groups.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for your prayers & comment on my blog. This has not been an easy decision to we know,no uterus=no baby. But we do have our almost 5 yo son, and he has my heart completely. There will always a sadness that I didn't get to be pregnant. No, ifs, ands or buts about it.
It just is what it is. And sometimes, it just plain stinks.

Hope's Mama said... [Reply to comment]

As someone who also lost a full term first born, I can very much relate. I still read and commented on a lot of blogs by those who had lost later children, and to me it wasn't so much a jealous their older children were alive, but a deep fear in my bones that I'd never get to experience that myself. They spoke of how hard it was to explain the loss to their older children (and I agree, that would be brutal) but I had to come home to a silent, empty home and there was no one in the world who could tell me it wouldn't always be that way. And I knew if I was lucky to have another child, I would have to one day tell that child about their deceased sister. That is starting now in my house, and it isn't easy. I hate that Angus will grow up knowing this and that he'll never know any different. I also wish I got to experience just ONE day of pregnancy without the dark cloud of loss hanging over my head.
Anyway, I'm further down the road than you, but I can tell you it honestly feels like yesterday to me, to be where you are right now.
Hoping for you every day.

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

Love this. Wish we were meeting up for coffee and more conversation. Just like a book club! And my eye caught "responsible," too. YES, please. So true.

Flmgodog said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for writing this. I have been reading your blog for several months now and I sometimes wonder how BLM relate with infertiles. I feel like I am both.
I am currently pregnant with twins (fingers crossed) that's the good news and I have a four year old.
The not so good news - 9 pregnancies, 7 losses one of those was a twin pregnancy and the most recent loss was at 20 weeks in February. I don't know how a woman could just "forget" or move on after infertility but I certainly know that woman claim that. The woman that I talk to IRL who have experienced all these things are NEVER the same. It effects their WHOLE life. As I have said for a long time - I will never move ON, I will only move forward.
Keep on writing. It helps others of us too.

Kristin said... [Reply to comment]

This was really interesting, and I agree with one of the above commenters-- I wish we would talk more at a coffee house or something. I've said it before (or at least thought it!), but I really think we'd be fast friends :)