“You took it all, but I’m still breathing.”

So I lied. I said I was going to take a break from writing. I suppose I thought it would help me feel better. In reality, for me – writing is like popping the top off of a champagne bottle: there is so much energy and pressure inside that needs to find a way out, and writing just does that for me – regardless of who reads it (though I appreciate every person who does). It lets a little air out so my heart and thoughts can settle.

So here I am.

It has been 13 days since I took the pills that ended my pregnancy. It feels like 13 weeks, or maybe 13 months, sometimes. Other times, it feels like it has been 13 hours. For the most part: it’s been just fine. I took the pills (vaginally), had cramps for about 48 hours, bled for about a week, and then it was over. So far, no other symptoms or pain – aside from my right hip/butt area that has become a combination of numb, itchy, and tender from the progesterone injections – which ceased 14 days ago. It’s kind of cruel if you ask me: I didn’t have any pain while I was pregnant, and now that its over, it hurts. Or maybe I was just so hopeful and happy that I didn’t notice the pain. Either way, it’s just uncomfortable and annoying – other than that I’m totally asymptomatic (par for the course, really.)

I was pregnant.

That sounds so strange to say, now.

I went back to the doctor’s office for a follow up visit last week. He said that everything looked as it was supposed to, and my HCG level dropped that day from 1500+ down to 50. Today, it finally dropped to 0.

I thought I would be relieved when I got that call. (I wasn’t). I waited for that name to show up on my phone so many times – waiting to hear about an HCG rise, some small amount of good news, some tiny glimmer of hope. I almost felt like I was cheating on myself when my heart skipped as the number came up on my phone’s screen. “This is good news after what you went through,” the nurse reassured me. “Now you should just call us with your next period and we’ll discuss next steps.” Good news.

I think the only news that would soothe my aching heart at this point is for someone to tell me that this was all just a big mistake and that I can still expect to have a baby in my arms sometime in late April/early May, but I’m going to go ahead and take her word that this is good.

Later this afternoon, another nurse called – interestingly, the nurse with whom I was assigned to work, who was absent during the last few weeks of this ordeal, and just happened to pop up again like one of those old friends you don’t talk to for a year, and just pick up with where you left off.

She let me know that I should expect to get my period sometime in the next few weeks and when I do, I’ll let them know, but in the meantime, she is scheduling me for another HSG test (you can only imagine the sheer joy on my face when she told me that. To relive the excitement of my last test, feel free to skip back 6-7 posts – it was a real treat!), and afterward, she said that they can put me on medication to “speed up” the process, and she left me with a tiny bit of hope that we could transfer again before December. At this point, though, it’s really up to my period. Fingers crossed that it’s fast and furious.

In the meantime, I rotate through a series of – now predictable – emotions: peace, happiness, sadness, and anger. I find myself crying randomly (usually when I’m alone in my office or the car) and sad songs really do me in. Damn you, self, for stumbling upon that random video of some girl doing an acapella version of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” two months ago, and then downloading it to your phone’s music list, only to have it pop up in the playlist every few days.

I just don’t get it. They say that 1 in 4 women have miscarriages. I mean, I know that not a lot of people talk about this but…where the f*&k are they?!? This process makes me feel so incredibly alone – especially when I’m 31 years old and almost everyone I know is pregnant or has small children. Where are the 25% of people I know who get what this pain is like. I want to have a drink with them. Understand how they got past this. Figure out how they managed to not punch every person who told them that “this is only the first try – there will be others” or “you’ll get there” or “everything will be fine”. I need these women to teach me their ways. I need them to help me to be gracious, and grateful, and not be angry or envious when I see ultrasound after ultrasound flood my Facebook feed, and women skip happily out of the doctor’s office with their sky high HCG numbers and good news. I think I mostly want to know when they got to the point at which the tears stopped welling up in the corners of their eyes randomly, or when they stopped feeling anxious, scared, and alone.

And then – there is this completely other side of me – a side that says: buck up, buttercup. Earlier this week, almost 60 people lost their husbands and wives. Their grown children. Their parents. Their fiancees, boyfriends, and girlfriends. You lost a baby that you barely knew. 

I know. Sadness isn’t a measuring contest. A mother isn’t easier to lose than a child. A sister isn’t easier to lose than a fiancee. A small child isn’t easier to lose than a big child. Or, maybe I don’t know. Maybe one is worse than the other. It just all sucks. And it makes me sad. And it makes me angry.

And my wife and I (okay, mostly me, but she supports me and goes along with it) had big plans to do some volunteer work this month, but I just feel so frozen by all of this. It is like when there is a big task ahead of you, and you wonder how it will get done, so you just lay down and don’t even start. I know we just need to do it – the good will probably help more than the writing, but I just don’t know where to start anymore.

Ideas? Words of wisdom? Comforting recipes? A butt-kicking pep talk? Does anyone have anything that can help jump start my heart?

 

8 thoughts on ““You took it all, but I’m still breathing.”

  1. Honestly, I find reading all of your stories, and others going through this same journey, very very helpful. It eases the sense of being alone. We are often invisible anyways as queer folks, but this is hard for me sometimes because anyone who knows us well knows we are going through fertility, so they ask. Others have no idea and assume, because we are lesbians, that it’s not even in the realm of possibility that we are going through this. Sometimes it’s just hard to talk about. I have found tons of comfort reading the words here online. I hope you do, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do, too. I have about 10 people I “follow” here (a majority of whom are currently pregnant or have small children), and the sense of community you all provide really does lift me up in the dark moments. Even the people who don’t fully understand the miscarriage part can relate to the insurance woes, the questions about “the process” and our lives as LGBT couples, and the uphill battle that is a queer couple trying to conceive. We are also blessed to know two lesbian couples outside of the digital world, one of whom has been a great source of advice (when they aren’t super busy coralling their twin toddlers). I hope this post doesn’t come off as ungrateful for all that we do have (and all WHO we do have surrounding us) as we recognize the immense support that each blog entry, vlog video, or word of comfort can provide. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi – I don’t know if this will be a welcome comment or not as it’s not an ideal. comparison. I can’t relate to the fertility issue. But I can relate to feeling alone when going through something hard issue. My 9 year old is autistic. Nowadays, it’s pretty much a non-issue in our lives. We hardly think about it at all. But it was not always that way. In the early years every day, every hour, every minute was a struggle and I felt totally alone and ill-equipped. I was angry and sad and I cried a lot. They say 1 in 88 children has it and yet, I didn’t know any of them or have anybody come forward to share their own struggles – except online strangers. It baffled me. But the online support was amazing and I clung to it like it was the air in my lungs. It did get better. I haven’t felt any of those negative feelings in a very long time. We are all happy now even though the road was not one we expected. I hope the same for you. Hold on to the support you do have. Your wife, your family, your online friends. One day at a time. One moment at a time. Cry if you need to. Laugh when you can. I still love a good sad song. Sending you well wishes and good vibes for a successful pregnancy soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your comment is very welcome, thank you. I think there are so many life events that can make us feel alone, despite the empathy and support of those around us. I am glad you found support online, and hope that you still feel uplifted by your community (I certainly do by the one I have found – even on the tough days….maybe especially on the tough days.) I hope your son is doing well. And by the way: if you have Facebook and haven’t encountered it already, “Diary of a Mom” is one of my FAVORITE pages. The blogger, Jess, has an autistic daughter, and both of their perspectives on the world as well as Jess’ perspective on raising her daughter is really special (and makes me want to be a better, more supportive person to everyone in my life). I took several classes focusing on special education when I was pursuing my master’s degree, and I think I learned more from her blog than I did from any of the classes. ❤

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  3. I had a miscarriage back in May. We found out on May 4th, when I should have been pushing 12 to 13 weeks pregnant, that the baby had died at 8 and a half weeks, almost immediately after the second ultrasound reassured me that everything was perfect and beautiful. I had a D&E at the hospital because I wanted to be unconscious. My due date is rapidly approaching (November 15th), and I’m almost tempted to take the day off work because I’m not sure I’ll make it through the day.

    I’ll be 32 next week, so I get the “everyone has babies” thing. We adopted our first two children when they were 13 and 9, so it’s not the same either. I love them and I’m so glad we adopted them, but it’s not the same as having a baby.

    The ladies I worked with at the school I was at last year made me a necklace with the baby’s heartbeat on one side and the ultrasound on the other. Sometimes, I feel like it was a dream. Sometimes, I wonder how I’ll do trying again. Sometimes, like this month, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, I cry randomly, even though it’s 5 months later.

    At first, I cried every week that went by as my head said, “Today, I’d be 13weeks… Today, I’d be 14 weeks.” Eventually, I stopped counting, so progress.

    My advice? Let yourself feel what you are feeling. You are allowed to feel what you’re feeling for as long as you need to feel it. We were able to try again in two months, but we haven’t. We’re going back next week to try again. You take as much time as you need, and let yourself feel everything you need to feel.

    We bought a small memory box and put our baby’s onsie that the clinic gave us in it along with all the ultrasounds. It was a way for us to say goodbye and have some closure.

    It sucks a lot. But I’m reading, and listening, and I’m here. And I get it. I know what it’s like, so I’m here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I put off responding to this one at first, as there was so much I wanted to say…but what I kept coming back to over and over was: I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine feeling the joy of a heartbeat, followed by the news that it was the only heartbeat, and then again I can. I wish I couldn’t. And I wish you didn’t have to, either. I wish that no one who wanted a baby so desperately, ever had to feel the crushing weight of a loss, the pain of an unsuccessful try, or the devastation of any bad news. I wish that wasn’t how any of this worked.

      I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you reaching out in solidarity – hearing stories from others helped me to keep looking for my own silver lining. They make the dark days seem shorter and less dark, and I really do feel less alone. I can imagine that sharing your story is tough at times – please know that it is appreciated, and that you – too – are not alone.

      That necklace sounds wonderful, and it sounds like you have some amazing coworkers.

      I’ll be thinking of you, you family, and your angel on November 15th. ❤

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