I have written this blog post 3 different times and deleted all of them. It’s a scary and personal thing to talk about. Why bother? Because if it helps one person not feel so alone or one person gain a better understanding, than I will be so glad I wrote this. Here it goes.
I’m talking about infertility and miscarriages. The statistics are scary. According to the March of Dimes “as many as 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage — most often before a woman misses a menstrual period or even knows she is pregnant. About 15% of recognized pregnancies will end in a miscarriage. More than 80% of miscarriages occur within the first three months of pregnancy. ”On top of that, out of 100 relatively healthy and fertile couples trying to conceive, 20 will conceive in one month, 70 will conceive within 6 months, and 85 will conceive within one year. A year!!
These are the sort of things swimming around in my head these last few months, as we have been trying for baby #2 for 9 months now and just had a miscarriage in October.
When we FINALLY decided to go for #2 (it took a while to make that decision as our sweet Eleanor is from Planet Difficult with a side of red hair) I think we thought that it would be similar to the first time: track my ovulation, try for 2 cycles, and boom, preggo! After month 4, 5, and 6 went by, the discouragement really started to set in. Everyone we confided in said “just relax and it will happen” “stop trying and it will happen”. As a person with serious anxiety it really started to mess with my head. “Has something changed since I had Eleanor, can I not get pregnant again?” “What if it takes years and years?” The what-ifs really took over for a couple of months. Here we are at month 9 and still not pregnant. Thank GOD I found a friend that had been through something similar and could just say “this sucks, huh!” I am so truly grateful for her wisdom and support. (You know who you are;))
And then October – another pee stick that I was ready to throw out. I glanced at it on the way to the trash and I saw the faintest line. I just started shaking and crying. It felt like this was it! We finally were pregnant! The next day and the next test the line was even darker, so encouraging. We were going to do the standard wait-and-tell a few weeks into the pregnancy. And then I had blood drawn. They called and wanted me to come in two days later to make sure my numbers were going up. They didn’t go up, they stayed the same. A week after that glorious positive test, the nurse told me it’s most likely an impending miscarriage. We were heartbroken. Even though it was only a week or so we had known, that was a week of building excitement, planning in my mind, experiencing this amazing relief after trying for so long etc etc. I couldn’t bear the thought of trying again for another 8 months maybe. And of course my family found out about the miscarriage. We really needed their support.
The miscarriage itself wasn’t all that bad physically speaking but hormonally and emotionally speaking it wreaked havoc. I went into a really deep depression for weeks afterwards. I never really thought about it being caused by my miscarriage but it made perfect sense when I did some reading online. Miscarriages can have similar effects to post-partum depression, even earlier miscarriages. Your body ramps up the pregnancy hormones and then once the miscarriage starts they rapidly drop off – not fun. I had so many physical symptoms a couple weeks after my miscarriage then I did during the actual miscarriage. It affected my vision, I had pelvic pain, panic attacks multiple times a day, crying at the slightest things, and really just felt so disconnected from absolutely everything around me.
But despite how difficult going through a miscarriage was, we are trying to focus on one positive fact – we did get pregnant, things are still in working order. And mentally how am !? I have really had to just let go of this “plan” I had in my head. A lot of this whole process is completely out of my control and I have to have faith that it will happen. As much as I wanted my kids to be a certain age distance apart, I now am at peace with whenever it happens, it will be great.
The craziest thing I’ve learned about ALL of this is how common miscarriages and struggles with infertility are and how no one talks about it. It is so wrong that there is a stigma around it. Once we got tired of hearing “Where’s baby #2?” we started sharing a bit of our struggle when people asked and it’s amazing how many people eagerly then shared their experiences. So many people we know have had miscarriages or took a long time or needed interventions in order to get pregnant. It has made me question a lot of how the whole thing is typically “handled.” Try try try, conceive, keep it a secret, have a miscarriage, devastation, don’t reach out because no one knew you were pregnant in the first place. Something like that. So many women are going through this alone and they don’t know that alone is the last thing they should feel with so many women going through the same exact thing. They feel like maybe something is wrong with them or their partner and suffer in silence. When people I know told me their stories, it felt so comforting to know I’m not the only one and that there can be a light at the end of this tunnel when I hear they go on to have successful pregnancies. We are a much more open and sharing society today than we were 50 years ago and I hope that the stigma around infertility and miscarriages goes away as women are able to see that reaching out or seeking support in these times is not a scary or shameful thing and that you’re not a failure.
I’ve also gained such perspective on other things through all of this. Like a greater gratitude and blessed realization for what I have in Eleanor. She is the absolute greatest thing in my life and I can’t even express the love I have for this little ball of energy.
Let me finish with recognizing that many couples (and a few that w know) have been trying for much longer than we have and our hearts really go out to them. We send love to anyone going through this, at any level, and feel free to reach out to us anytime.
Baby dust to all those who need it!