Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The reality of infertility and miscarriage.

Our super fun DC date!
On September 3rd we celebrated our 4 year anniversary. The same week we "celebrated" a year of trying to conceive baby number 2. I didn't realize it had been a year until my friend pointed it out (thanks Lindsey). I told Gabe we should celebrate with sushi or something else that's a no-no when pregnant, like a ton of caffeine, or sandwich meat. He didn't think it was as funny as I did.

We wouldn't have done it anyway. You see, last week, I had a positive pregnancy test. I had originally decided not to share about treatments because I want to avoid the question "are you pregnant yet?" or anything similar. But in light of this weeks events, I changed my mind. I've been going through treatments since May. Last month was my 3rd round of Clomid (4th medicated cycle total, but Femara was a total fail). Before I continue, let me tell you that being on Clomid has been one of the worst experiences of my life. It makes me miserable. Not only do I gain weight every month, but it makes me break out like a teenager, and it makes me in to a psychotic woman that can't stand her own husband and child. So, I was really hoping this cycle would be it because I never ever want to take Clomid again, and we can't afford to do all shots. I would gladly take as many babies as possible out of one pregnancy just so I never have to go through this again. But I never got a chance to be excited about that true positive. By the time I realized it was a real positive it was too late and things had started to go downhill. I won't go in to the science, but I knew before the bleeding started. I just didn't say it aloud because I didn't want to believe it. I passed the time waiting around for it to happen with my best friend who was here for the weekend. She kept me distracted, which was great.

Even though I had sort of prepared and had mentioned it in passing to Gabe, when the loss started at church, I realized there was nothing I could do to ready myself for it. Nothing can prepare you for a miscarriage, even when you know it's going to happen. This was my 4th pregnancy loss. My second in 5 months. Seeing negative test results month after month is bad enough, but getting a positive, watching it turn negative, and then losing yet another baby is even worse. It's physically and emotionally painful. While this loss was extra hard on me because it means there's probably something going on that no doctor has looked for because I'm only 25, I'm kind of getting used to the idea of losing a pregnancy. Which is sad. I also know that it probably won't be my last which terrifies me because having one is terrible. My heart goes out to anyone that's lost a pregnancy at any point, whether they're 4 weeks or 20.

One of the worst things I've been told after all these miscarriages is "at least we know you can get pregnant." I can indeed. I've technically been pregnant 5 times. FIVE TIMES IN FOUR YEARS. But I have one baby. She's the most perfectly bratty little thing I could ever hope for, but I want more than anything to give her a sibling. Seriously, ask my husband. Ask my husband what I've been through to give her a sibling. Ask him about the "morning sickness" caused by the progesterone supplements, and the physical pain from ovulating 5 eggs at once. It's miserable. I'm miserable.

When I first joined a support group for this I couldn't believe how bitter these women were. Some of them are downright mean. But I understand it now. It's really hard to be happy for people that announce pregnancies. I see at least 2 announcements a week. Most of the time I say to myself "wow, were they even trying?" It's bitter and terrible. I know. But that's reality. I'm starting to get to that point. People tell me all the time how amazing I am for handling this so well and being so positive. I try really hard to put on a happy face (not physically really because my face is permanently mean), but I'm not happy. I'm angry.

It frustrates me when really young couples or recently married couples get pregnant so fast. I don't mean to offend, but it's reality. It isn't fair. I know it's ridiculous, fair is a four letter "f" word, and I need to be thankful. I am sometimes. Truly. But it's really hard when you're in it to see the good in things. I think that at some point I'll look back on this and realize that there was a reason for it, but at this point, there isn't for me. Right now all I see is pain. I am not handling this with grace, finesse, or any other positive word that people have used for me. I'm a mess. I cry all the time, which is definitely worsened by the hormones. I get physically ill from the medications and the anxiety every single month. I have zero energy most of the time and I'm so exhausted I can barely function. And I know without a doubt that other moms judge me these things and have no idea what's going on. Because infertility tends to be a thing you go through alone with your husband behind closed doors.

There are women, friends of mine, that have been trying harder and longer than I have for their first and my heart breaks for them. No one can ever truly understand any of this unless you go through it. I really hope that you don't have to, but I want to give people a glimpse into the reality of what this does to people. It's emotionally and physically shattering. People may put on a happy face about it, but I promise you they're miserable. I promise you that there isn't a day that goes by when they don't think about how hard these treatments are, or the babies they've lost. No amount of Chipotle or shopping makes this all go away. I know. I've tried.

I am sorry I sound so angry and bitter. But I don't think it's fair to put a strong "face" online just because people can't see me. Most of my posts about this have been fairly positive, or at least humorous. But I want people to know that I'm not positive, because there are other people like me and people need to know how painful this really is. That being said, please, let me see your pregnancy announcements!! I struggle with them, but I try really hard to be happy for every one of you. And if you struggle, tell me! It's easier (at least for me) when you know others in a similar situation. I hate that I can say this, but I'm a fountain of fertility knowledge now. Comes with the territory.

38 weeks with Peyton
Someone once told me that I should be grateful for my stretchmarks (seriously, I look like a tiger) because there are women that would give anything to have them. I can tell you, now that I've been on both sides a bit, that I still don't appreciate them. I would give anything to have the option to wear a bikini without feeling awkward. I also know that if I get pregnant again, I will not appreciate morning sickness. I'm going to be realistic here. Pregnancy was miserable. But, this is one of the biggest struggles of my life. Something I've simply known I was going to go through years before I even got married. The bright side is now that we've been trying for a year and I've had 2 consecutive losses, my next specialist will take me seriously. But that doesn't make it any easier. Remember that there are thousands and thousands of couples going through fertility issues. It's pretty common. There are thousands of women like me with a slew of medical problems that are struggling to get out of bed on a day to day basis. Be sensitive to those around you. You have no idea what's happening behind closed doors.

In other news, after a long fight, I was medically approved to go to France!!! But, this was blow number 2 this week. The office in charge of the assignment doesn't care at all. Gabe was told to "hurry up and wait" for his next assignment to who knows where. He doesn't get to make a wishlist and all of the decisions are being based on the fact that I was wrongly placed on the EFMP program. I've never seen my husband so devastated. He worked for this assignment for 3 years and it all came tumbling down in a matter of days. I could say some really terrible things about this whole system, but I will refrain. For now.

I know we can be happy anywhere, but being here in the place that has seen so much of our stress and pain is not good for either of us. We need a fresh start, and I can't wait to get it. Wherever that may be.