I guess you could say I sort of have my own pregnancy loss recovery “program” going on. Over the past 5 months, I have slowly been making progress in my recovery efforts, but this week I feel I took a big step.
The beginning of my recovery program included coming to terms with the fact I was no longer physically pregnant. This was a brutal, harsh reality, and I thank God everyday that I was able to take a medical leave from work for a month. It consisted of going from no periods for 3 months, to constant, continual bleeding & cramping, forcing myself to shower daily, trying to buy new clothes and dispose of maternity ones, adjusting my eating, exercising, & medicinal habits, getting accustomed to my new sleep patterns, & so much more.
You go from a baby bump to nothing to show for the bump but extra pounds.
You go from eating like a pig to eating just to survive.
You go from sleeping any chance you get because your baby is growing inside of you, to only sleeping when you self-medicate yourself.
I also attended grief counseling during this time as part of my recovery. This helped me understand that the physical anguish I was experiencing was quite normal and common considering what we went through.
Next, came announcing to the world our infertility, IVF, and RPL secret (aka getting rid of the monkey we had been carrying around on our backs for years). Lets face it, infertility treatments and recurrent pregnancy loss can become really challenging to hide after a while. Instead of announcing a baby to the world, we were now announcing how many we had lost. This included coming out of the closet with our families, friends, co-workers, social media, etc. We began to realize we weren’t alone, as many people started coming out of the woodwork with their stories, too. This part of my recovery program was actually quite soothing because the support we received was overwhelmingly positive. Phone calls, texts, cards, presents, the works.
These months centered mainly around 2 things–restoring my relationship with God, and making some decisions about our future. The big guy and I had a lot of sorting out to do. I can’t lie and say I wasn’t utterly angry and disappointed with Him, because I was. I was also confused & devastated that He allowed this to happen again. I had went from talking to Him everyday, to seriously questioning my faith after loss 3. In fact, I don’t think I ever doubted it so much in my entire life. When my mom or husband would bring Him up, I would tell them to be quiet. I would tell them He doesn’t hear my prayers obviously anyways, and that His plan must be for me to never be a mother. I yelled at Him and reminded Him that only He had the power to save our babies and He chose not to.
Through each cycle and each pregnancy, we not only prayed and spent time with Him everyday, we also gave Him all the glory for those BFP’s. We even told our doctors it was Him who got us pregnant. Why then would He allow this to occur again? Well, I can’t answer that, and thankfully, I no longer have the desire to answer it. I do know there is a reason, but I can’t say I will ever understand it or know it. And that is OK; I don’t need to understand everything. I do know that I wouldn’t be sitting here typing right now had we still been pregnant. I wouldn’t be advocating for this cause. It took some time, and it’s still a work in progress, but I am so happy to say that my faith has been restored. I know that He understood why I felt the way I did when we lost our babies and He keeps no record of my wrongs.
During this time, we also tried to figure out what went wrong with our pregnancy the best we could so we could prevent it from happening again in the future if possible. I underwent numerous procedures, operations, blood tests, and doctor appointments. We were able to eliminate many things off our list that could be causing our issue. We spent time praying and discussing our future options for creating our family-adoption, gestational surrogacy, another FET, a child free life. We started researching getting second opinions from other RE’s and chose to finally go get one. We made the decision that I needed to take some time away from my career, and hence, I put in my resignation. I began to find other things that I enjoy and take pride in doing that do not revolve around us having a baby. As you can see, a lot of clarity and healing came during this time.
This would bring us to the present time. Healing is definitely still in progress. This week I made some progress (in my eyes) and I am proud of myself for it. One of the hardest things for me since our last loss has been being around or talking to or about any pregnant women. I have declined baby showers. I have distanced myself from conversations. I have decided that I just could not be a part of any of this. I have needed to protect myself from unnecessary hurt. Unfortunately, anyone who has suffered through IF and/or RPL knows these horrible feelings all too well. Basically, there is no other way to put it other than it sucks! And I don’t think anyone enjoys feeling this way.
So, I decided to try to take some small steps with this. I went online and found my old high school friends baby registry (she is due with her first child in a few weeks). I sent her some really cute presents and a card. I did the same thing for a friend that I have recently met here in this wonderful blogging community as well. In addition, I accepted an invitation to 3-year-old birthday party where another pregnant woman, baby, and children will be present. I went out and bought him some play dough, a puzzle, and a book for the party. I must tell you, I felt really great inside when I did each of these things for these special people. It brought me a lot of joy. And while I know that I have a long ways to go still in my healing, I also know that I am farther along than I was before!