Tuesday, March 17, 2015

11 Months Since a Post, 4.5 Months Out from Our Fourth Loss & Shingles

It has been 11 months since my last post and now I have shingles. ;) I can't believe either has happened.

I think after we lost Baby Jo, our fourth pregnancy, who we thought per the first sonogram and hormone levels might have been twins, rainbow baby twins -  I just couldn't blog about life after a third loss. Talk about going from a very high high of possible rainbow baby twins to a very low low yet again. The explanation, "blighted ovum" kind of helped in a way because I had heard of it happening to other women and I thought, "ok" blighted ovums are somewhat common and usually only happens once in a women's lifetime. So I pushed myself to bounce back rather quickly. I tried not to skip a single beat when it came to our social activities like playgroup (my actual physical miscarriage started at the end of a playgroup), moms night out, the Palm Sunday Easter Egg Hunt at Church, a visit from my brother and his new girlfriend, etc.. I definitely pushed myself too hard to be out and about right away and didn't take the proper time to be alone, with Rick and grieve/ let my feelings flow. It hit me really hard a month later during my first menstrual cycle after loss. It was ugly, with Rick, in our car, out of town and unfortunately in front of my sunshine baby, Sofia.  Grief sucks! Life after loss is a real monster. Fortunately, from that Sunday in May on I grieved Baby Jo more thoroughly and slowly things got better between May-September.

Sofia then turned 4 years old in September and I was right back where I was at on her 3rd Birthday thinking of her sibling that should be there with us at the party celebrating. Instead we were in the TTC stages and found out about three weeks later that we were pregnant for a fifth time! Five times! I can't believe I have been pregnant FIVE times! On October 15th the three of us saw our sweet Baby Jude's heartbeat! Tears of joy. Was this our rainbow baby??? No... A week later Baby Jude was measuring behind and his or her precious heartbeat was beating slower. A few days later Baby Jude was pronounced dead. The next day, on October 28th, I underwent my first D&C to test Baby Jude for answers but there were no answers, no explanation as to why he or she died. Just a hypothesis that it must have been something chromosomal (non hereditary chromosomal). I decided rather quickly since I was going under anesthesia for the D&C I wanted my RE to also perform a laparoscopy to check for endometriosis since NaPro Technology believes that 85% of unexplained repeat loss is caused by endometriosis. I did not have any symptoms other than repeat loss. My RE agreed to check and found Minimal/ Stage 1 endometriosis that looked like tiny white spider webs. Severe endometriosis looks like black spots. Mine was so "minimal." But who knows maybe it was causing me repeat pregnancy loss. The good news, the endometriosis is out and I did all that I could do for me and I tried to get answers as to why Baby Jude died for him or her, us and any of our future babies. I tried...

The loss of Baby Jude, our fourth pregnancy loss, hit me really hard. Once again I pushed myself to go right back to Mass and not miss a Sunday. I seriously need to learn that it is ok to miss Mass when I am "sick" and that I can have a Eucharistic Minster, Priest or Deacon bring me Communion. Why do I forget to tap into that gift/ ministry? I told Rick to remind me going forward. There are times when one is just too raw/ fresh with grief and does not need to be in certain social situations. I learned that lesson the hard way when just a week out from losing Baby Jude. A former friend, who was very visibly pregnant and who I had not spoken to since our fourth pregnancy with Baby Jo, walked up to us in our pew before Mass like we were old buddies. I could not believe she was coming into our space at such a heavy time in our lives. I then had my very first public anxiety attack in that moment and had to walk out of the Church. Rick and Sofia followed shortly. We regrouped rather quickly and went back in because you know we don't like to miss Mass ;) and I just cried and cried in the pew. I have been amazed at how inconsiderate and absent minded people can be to those dealing with loss. Please take a moment and think of the broken-hearted before you act or say something to them. Pause first, try not to put them in an even more painful position.

The journey of pregnancy after loss and pregnancy loss, after pregnancy loss is hard enough for the couple/ family dealing with the heartbreak and then you add in outside factors and people and ugh it can be down right torture. Salt on our wounds.This fourth loss also came at a time when Sofia was at an understanding, an age where she knew what was going on, had questions, had comments, drew pictures, all related to life, death and grief. It has been a heartbreaking challenge to see and help Sofia through grief. We fortunately asked for guidance on how to help and talk to her. She wants a baby, "in our house, not in heaven!" As do we...

In early November I found myself back in the large MEND meetings for those with recent losses. Thank God for MEND. In December I started seeing a therapist recommended to me from a friend who also had a second trimester miscarriage. I sought out a therapist because after a fourth consecutive loss I have experienced Repeat Trauma with closely spaced pregnancies, Post Traumatic Stress and Anxiety to a variety of things related to pregnancy. I even got to a point where I felt like never letting myself get pregnant ever again. That was a new thought for me as I had been on that let's try again for a rainbow baby train after Sam, Christian and Jo. After Jude things changed. The only way I know how to protect myself from yet another loss is to not get pregnant again, basically to abstain when fertile since we practice Natural Family Planning. I really did contemplate coming to peace with never trying again and focusing on what life might be like with only one living child. Then I ovulated and got baby fever. ;) Oh how the days of a women's natural cycle influences her thoughts and feelings on sex/ bonding and babies. Father Marco, yeah we talked to a Priest about all this, and Rick definitely don't think I should hang up my fertile years and abstain indefinitely. I know they are probably right. I also know that I needed to wait more than our standard three month waiting period between loss and TTC again. I need more of a BREAK! I have had four losses, three surgeries and now shingles in less than two and a half years. I am worn out and exhausted. God, can I get a break?!?! ;) I want to feel stronger, healthier and more ready for another pregnancy. Being back at Jazzercise and Body Sculpting is helping. Reading books such as, "Barren among the Fruitful, Navigating Infertility with HOPE, WISDOM, and PATIENCE" by Amanda Hope Haley is also helping. MEND helps, my Plano support group of women dealing with infertility and loss helps and my new support group called Shiloh, hosted by Watermark will probably help too. I have never been so grateful for my Protestant Sisters and the support groups they run. My hope is to one day help run a group specific for my Catholic sisters dealing with loss and infertility.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's so great you have so much support Nelly! I look forward to hearing an update on the Shiloh group too and I apologize that I haven't asked. I ALSO look forward to seeing you start a group of your own one day! Isn't it crazy that God uses our messes and turns them into our ministries?