Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"It is the Hour to Rend Thy Chains, the Blossom Time of Souls . . ."

Katherine Lee Bates

I go from 0 to 60 in a year's time. On the 16th of this month in 2002, I had my seventh and final miscarriage. One year later in 2003, almost to the day, I am holding my newborn daughter in my arms and thinking she will be another last. Almost 10 months prior I stood in my bathroom, belly exposed - riddled with bruises from twice daily injections. I had just prepared another one and as I made ready to stick the needle in, I caught sight of myself in the mirror and I just couldn't do it. I didn't want to do it, I wanted to be done. I was weary. Weary of temperature charting, weary of injections, weary of blood draws and follicle scans, of progesterone supplementation and baby aspirin, weary of peeing on sticks and crying in disappointment or crying in fear, and of running to the bathroom and checking, always checking. I'd had 2 miscarriages already that year. One, a multiples pregnancy with intrauterine sacs and one growing in my right fallopian tube. I dealt with mild overstimming and cysts rupturing and then my tube rupturing. Then, another HSG, to get the all clear to try again. Trying again, more injections, more scans, more peeing on a stick and then low betas. Betas that don't quite double - almost, but not quite there. Finally, bleeding, and crashing betas and me crashing, falling to earth and landing hard. Trying yet again - one month, two months, three months of the same and then that 4th month after. I hit the wall. I cannot do this anymore. I have done this for years, a full decade of loss - loss of babies I had created and loss of my sense of humanity. What it meant to be normal - to lay with your husband and without knowing what cycle day you were on or even what a bbt was, creating something beautiful in the moment and perhaps hoping, but not really knowing, until later. I didn't want to know anymore - what ovary they came from and to within 36 hours. And I was tired of loss. So, win, lose or draw - that would be it. No looking back. And finally, finally - choosing to stop, I felt relief. Not sadness, relief. So that day, looking in the mirror I knew I was done - no more injections. There would be no more after that cycle, no matter how it turned out. And it seemed as though this was it - all there was and all there would be to the story. We doubled my dose, my labs were poor, my ovaries bare of follicles - slow to respond, ten days, then twelve and finally - one follicle, 19mm, mature and ready to go and on the wrong side. The side that was bound up in adhesions and endometriosis - out of position. Scrap the AI. Cry for two hours in the car on the way home. Then, get up the next morning and get on with the getting on with my life.

Only, even though I thought I knew the ending - it ended differently than I expected, and one year, almost to the exact day after my last lost baby - I found joy again.

I never take another injection or have a follicle scan again. And the story doesn't end there after all.

Happy Birthday Sweet Sadie Rose and Happy Angel Day my Easter Lily
April 15th, 2003 and April 16th, 2002

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Glow In The Woods 7x7 - The Body Shop

1 | Give us a few words you would have used to describe your body, your health or your sense of physical vitality before the experience of babyloss—and a few that you’d use to describe it now.

Before - optimistic, hopeful - felt strong and capable. After - old, worn-out, less confident in myself and my body

2 | What do you do to take care of yourself? Has this changed?

I try to remember myself - nurture what I have rather than bemoan what my body is not or no longer capable of. I have to remind myself sometimes to stop and take a break, a warm bath, some quiet meditation, read a book, listen to music.

3 | Give us one or two words to describe sex or physical intimacy before, and then after the loss of your baby.

Before - Because of the rpl and infertility, sex was a means to an end, a chore - another thing to do on the "Honey Do" list; After - initially after a loss, it was horrific - emotional, usually involved a lot of tears the first few times because of the sense of having to start all over again. Now later - ttc years are behind us, "hey - I can have sex for sex sake?!" It's getting better - not as sad as it use to be and less of a chore now that it is because I can if I want to and not because I'm ovulating or the doc told me to do so and it's what I have to do. I know that isn't "one or two words", sorry!

4 | Has loss and/or grief left a physical mark on you (a scar, a chronic condition, insomnia, a tattoo)?

Anxiety, lots of physical scars - I spoke about the physical ones in a previous post. There were the csections, the d&cs - any or all of which led to the break in my uterine lining that allowed the endometriosis to grow into the muscle and ultimately required the loss of my uterus. The adhesions that still cause pain - but dramatically less so now because of the hysterectomy. The anxiety is the biggest thing - it affects my abilty to sleep, to enjoy things, to not worry about all the things that COULD go really bad.

5 | Do you medicate or control your emotions with food, wine, altered states, prescriptions? Without judgement, what have you gravitated towards in an effort to heal, and how do you feel about it?

I wasn't a drinker, smoker or a pill taker before my losses, but I can see some of the motivating factors that might compel a person to get caught up in those addictions. When there is so much "badness" that you feel, you just need something that feels good. For me it ended up being Dt. Coke (pathetic addiction I know!) and also needing anti-depressants that I can't seem to get completely off of. I try, go for short periods of time where I seem to do okay without that daily pill and then, it builds and builds and I have to go back on again. There have been times I wish I could just "check out" - not in a suicidal sense, though there have been the occasional wishes to just go to sleep and never wake up over the years; but a checking out in the sense that I just don't have to be present or involved and I can just hibernate or isolate myself. I withdrew into myself a lot and sometimes still do - not answering the phone, avoiding social situations, etc.

6 | Was physical healing important for you in the first year after your loss? What did/does physical healing entail and how did/do you work towards it? If physicality hasn't been a priority for you, what do you do that makes you feel stronger or more able to cope?

Physically I recovered pretty quickly, comparatively speaking. Not having to cope with physical difficulties on top of the emotional ones did make it easier to focus my energies on the mental. For that I have always been grateful - having major physical issues heaped on top would have seriously compounded the recovery period. Having my body back to it's prior state did help me feel like I was closer to being able to achieve my goals of getting pregnant again and trying to stay that way.

7 | If you could change anything about your body and/or health, what would it be? What would it feel like to be either at peace with your body, or at peace with this babylost state?

Some of those coping mechanisms were eating my feelings. So, I wish I could have found a better, less fattening, way of dealing with things. If money were no option, sky's the limit, I'd have a tummy tuck, seriously. I'm okay with the actual scars. What I want is a flat belly - and not for vanity's sake. Combo of emotional eating, infrequent exercise and stomach muscles that are completely shot after all they've been through, and yeah, I can see where people might make the assumption. I've endured years of people checking out the gut and assuming I am pregnant and commenting on it. When it was during ttc and I wasn't pg, it was aggravating. When it was shortly after a loss - devastating. Now it is just really depressing and reminds me that this gut is not going to be for a good reason ever again.

Join in with your own answers or read what others have had to say.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Show & Tell - April 5th

Okay - I know y'all are probably sick of all my plant show and tells! So many of you thought this was such a neat plant though, that I thought it would be fun to show you what they look like when the blooms fully open. I love how the "heart" opens up and the inner white part is exposed. Both bushes have dozens of blooms on them now and have grown to about 18" tall and about 12" wide.

And . . . ta da! These are my white Bleeding Hearts - though it is a little ways off from blooming. If you click on the picture and look very carefully, you can see some tiny, tiny buds beginning. Also, I've noticed I have some Columbines coming up in the middle of it - they seem to have wandered. I'm going to have to wait until every one "grows up" a little more so I have an easier time differentiating between Bleeding Heart and Columbine. The rounder leaves are the Columbines and the pointier ones belong to the Bleeding Heart. I'm hoping they will cohabitate nicely until I can seperate them.

My Lilies are really growing good - pretty soon I'll be subjecting you to more endless gratuitous flower shots!

Dh and I headed to Lowe's today for some home improvement stuff and came home with an Azeala bush and a Lilac bush. Aren't you excited? But, no worries - I really only get super excited about the spring flowers. Once summer hits - I prefer to stay indoors with the A/C, so I'll be all "plantsed" out by then.

You know the drill.