Mar 15, 2009

Opening Up and Branching Out.

Musings of A Beautiful Mess
There have been so many times when I think I have NO business being in this online community. NOBODY has made me feel this way, and I've realize it's not true. But when I found all of these wonderful blogs, it wasn't because I was searching for answers. It wasn't because I was going through something that I couldn't share with anyone else or that nobody understood me. I already traveled down that road. Not to the extent that almost ALL of you strong ladies have, but I did travel it, as well.

I've said many times to women in an email or in a comment "I don't know the EXACT pain you're in, but I do understand". I said that in an email to a blogger and wow! Did she jump down my throat! In a loving way, of course. She told me I DO belong here and I did go through pain, maybe not by IVF or IUI's but I do know what it's like to long for a child or lose a child. It took me a long time to believe that.

I would always read the blogs of these woman and I think "I wish I was as strong as she is" or "What am I doing reading her PERSONAL words, when I have NO business reading them?!" I felt like a traitor. I felt like I couldn't or shouldn't comment because what the hell do I know? I don't know the pain of the two week wait. I don't know the pain of IVF or an IUI. I don't know the physical pain or the emotional pain. But once I started thinking about it, the longing for a child isn't different because I didn't do what she is doing. The pain of losing a baby at 4 or 5 weeks isn't any different. The pain is, sadly just pain.

I love my little spot in this community. I love that I have a lot of email addresses and I can pick any number of them and send out an S.O.S and get support. I love that I can give support just as much as I need it. I love that my words can make someone smile.

From here on out, I am going to branch out and open myself up more. Just because I am no longer traveling down this road, doesn't mean that I can't give an encouraging word. In order to open myself up, I am going to tell my story. I've told bits and pieces here and there, but I've never sat down and actually shared it. I've never written or typed, the words.

Here is my story:
I met my husband when we were working at Fred Meyer. A month to the day we started seeing each other, he left for the Navy for two years. During that two years, we weren't able to talk on the phone much or see each other. We wrote letters and because of those letters, we became very strong.

When he came back from the Navy, we moved in together and eventually got pregnant with Nae. I was only 20 at the time and he was 21. We never talked about kids or a family, there was so much to talk about then, and we were so young.

We had an ultrasound at around 16 weeks and they found a "shadow" on her heart. They told us there was a chance of her having Downs Syndrome and/or having heart problems. They also told us there might be a chance she wouldn't live long after being born. We got this news on a Friday. We had three long days to think about it, until our next doctor's appointment. The doctors gave us options that included terminating the pregnancy, an amniocenteses, and a number to a genetic counselor. We had lived with her already and couldn't imagine NOT having this child in our lives. We decided to do nothing. Our choice wasn't an easy one, there were many tears and many "what if" conversations between the two of us. Our next ultrasound a few weeks later showed that our little girl was "fine". No shadow anymore. We were cautiously optimistic. We did our best not to worry about the "what ifs" and live our lives to the fullest with our daughter "safely" tucked inside of my body. We did make a birth plan as well as a death plan, should we need it. We told our family that nobody was allowed in the birth room except the medical staff and us. We told them that if something should happen, we wanted it to just be the three of us in the bed, with the lights turned down low. It was something we were prepared as we could possibly be and very adamant about.

During that pregnancy, we grew closer. My body doesn't do pregnancy well. My body, for some reason or another, tends to want the baby to come sooner then it would be safe to have a baby. I was put in the hospital, put on bed rest, given medication and then FINALLY after all of that, I gave birth to our daughter. Who was and is healthy. That was almost 12 years ago. Even though, it was almost 12 years ago, the emotions I felt, are still so fresh. I don't know how we got through it, but we did. Thankfully we didn't have to put into effect our death plan and were lucky enough to only use our birth plan.

When Nae was about 1 1/2 years old, I got sick with Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. It took them no time to give me a diagnosis, but it took them a LONG time to find the correct medicine to get rid of it. Because it took them so long, the infection got into my uterus. I battled kidney infections and bladder infections for almost a full year until I was put on a strong enough anti-biotic to kill the bacteria.

During that time, I got pregnant. The pregnancy didn't stick. We/I lost the baby around 7 or 8 weeks. I was told it was due to the infection, and since being put on the correct medicine, that shouldn't happen again. I was young and healthy and blah blah blah. They were wrong. The first one was bad enough, not only because I had lost a baby, but because it was around Nae's birthday and my best friend was pregnant at the time. The second miscarriage (two years later) was worse, for me. That one was around mother's day. I remember laying in bed, numb and getting cards for Mother's day from my husband, but not feeling it. He tried his best to understand, but couldn't. He told me that he hadn't felt a connection to the baby as I did, but he was still there for me. His pain was less then mine. We both tried really hard to understand one another.

We eventually got through it and started living our lives again. This time without me being sick and just enjoying my little family. We talked about another child. We did want one, but wasn't sure if it was in my best interest to have another, due to my health. Because of the PID, my immune system is shot. I use to get a bladder infection every 6-8 months. I eventually learned how my body worked and was able to cure them or head them off with home remedies.

I remember having THE discussion about trying for another. We were scared and nervous. I didn't want to ACTIVELY try, but I didn't want to prevent, either. We also said "maybe we are only meant to have one child. She's beautiful, healthy and what more can we ask for?" So, we decided to not try, but not prevent. This went on for about two years.

Nae started kindergarten and we were having some family issues and had our nephew living with it. We talked about adopting him because his parents couldn't get their shit together. Thankfully, they did and he is living with his mom part time and his dad part time. In October, I realized I was late for my period, but wasn't sure exactly how late. I was so scared, nervous and excited all at the same time. Part of me wanted to know right NOW and another part of me did not want to know until my period came in a few days.

The part that wanted to know, won. I went and got a test done and it was positive. I sat there shocked, scared, bewildered, every other emotion one could think of. I honestly didn't think I would ever see that second line again. I had the test taken at a clinic by our house. It was a free clinic because it was the only one open on a Saturday afternoon and I wasn't about to buy a pregnancy test and go through all the emotions on my bathroom floor. I needed to do this away from my home. When the gal came in and told me, I was stunned. She talked to me about "options" and I didn't say a word. She though I didn't want the baby. She kept saying words like "terminate" "just weeks along" and "totally safe". When I eventually found my voice, I told her ALL my details. Every last one of them. That poor woman. She must have thought I was crazy. I think that positive made her day ALMOST as much as it made mine. She was so excited for me and gave me a pair of booties for the baby. I didn't want them, I didn't want anything that had to do with a baby in my possession because it could go away just as easily as it came.

I got home and told my husband. We were stunned. I don't think we said anything to each other for about 5 minutes. We just looked at each other. Once the shock wore off, we did the hug, kiss "lets not get TOO excited" congratulatory dance. We didn't tell anyone for awhile. There was no way I was going to tell people and have to un-tell them and snatch away their happiness as well as mine.

We eventually told them around Christmas. BIG mistake! Everyone was SO excited. We were going to have another baby in the family..YAY!!! I put on a show and was excited for them and with them. Even though, I was still in the "we'll see" stage. The day AFTER Christmas, I got Shingles. Yes, Shingles! What woman in her mid twenties GETS shingles and is pregnant, no less?! Apparently, me. The doctors had NO idea what to do with me. They didn't want me to come into the office to get looked at because I could pass it on to the patients. And it's DEADLY to children. Umm hello! I'm PREGNANT! If it's deadly to BREATHING children, then what the hell is it doing to MY baby?! Nobody had the answer. Nobody knew, ANYTHING! They put me on pain meds, a chicken pock medication and said "if you starting having pain, or bleeding come in." Umm OK? So if I'm not bleeding, apparently this medication is fine for my child?

So, once again we were put in the "what should we do" stage of pregnancy. We ended up doing nothing, again. We still had our death plan, no birth plan as of yet, it was still early. We talked about the "what if" situations in detail this time. "What if s/he can't breathe and needs life support? Do we put him/her on a ventilator? How long do we keep him/her on a vent? Is it right to keep them alive if they won't be able to actually LIVE?!" We didn't have the answers. All we wanted was a baby, a child to share with our daughter. We thought of peaceful ways for a child to die and hoped that if it came to that, that's what we could offer this child.

As the months progressed and there weren't any apparent side effects to the drugs, we became cautiously optimistic, again. Ultrasounds showed we were having a boy and he was fine. Then came the pre-labor again, the bed rest, the depression, the 24/7 sickness that wouldn't go away. or would go away just to get me use to enjoying a day or two and then rear it's ugly head and cause mine to go into the toilet. There weren't any hospital stays this time, but there were MANY trips to L&D. There were a lot of "fetal movement counts" and bouts of me stuffing my head in the couch crying reason...just because.

Finally, I went into real labor at a decent time in my pregnancy. It was the moment of truth, so to speak. This time around, we allowed family members in. My mom, his mom, my sisters, my best friend and Nae. It was a freaking party in that room. We decided that we wanted to share his life, no matter how short or how long it was going to be, with everyone else. We didn't want to be selfish should the worst happen. We thought everyone should be able to see him alive and not, possibly, only dead. It wasn't an easy decision to come too, to have Nae in the room, she was only 6 at the time. But we felt it was important for her to get to know her baby brother. I am very glad we made that decision. Because not only was he healthy, Nae got to cut the cord with her daddy. It was a beautiful moment. the end of labor was so much better then the rest of it. I remember pushing him out and looking into my mother's eyes. It was such a precious moment and a memory I will have forever.

We had decided to get my tubes tied, because of my body's unwillingness to cooperate with pregnancy. For us, it wasn't a difficult choice. I don't do pregnancy well. I never get "the glow". I rarely go to full term without medication and after all the trauma of writing out a death plan for BOTH my children, I'd rather not do it again.

Here we are 6 years later and completely out of "babyhood". The last thing we have to old onto is that Zilla still uses "kid" toothpaste. He doesn't take baths anymore. He is on the go all the time, so cuddles and snuggles are rare. Nae is in middle school and is starting to like boys...*EEK* but she still sleeps with her lovie. Actually, they both do and I hope that doesn't go away for along time. I don't "long" for another baby. I look forward to watching my children grow and mature into who they are going to be. There are times when I miss them as they were, but I truly believe my family is complete with our two living children and our two children up in Heaven.

So there it is, my story. Now that I've opened up, I'm going to branch out. I'm going to stop thinking I don't belong and realize that I can offer and gain support to ALL of you.

25 friends have commented:

Heather and Jase on March 16, 2009 at 12:52 AM said...

I have felt the same way you have about being in the IF community. I only had to go through one early loss and can't imagine the pain you went through with all of your pregnancies. They told me my last child would be born missing part of his brain. I only lived with that for 2 months, you dealt with "what if's" for most of your pregnancy for TWO! Thank God a lot of those tests are WRONG, and we (you and I) didn't chose to terminate.

The feeling of "do I belong here?" comes to me daily. I may not have had trouble conceiving, but a LOT of my family has, so I feel a kinship to those struggling. I want to celebrate their victories and help them when things go wrong. I figure no one can have too many cheerleaders or shoulders to cry on in their lives.

Thank you for opening up!
Love ya!

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


BagMomma on March 16, 2009 at 4:55 AM said...

I am so glad you posted this. It's nice to know a little more about you!

On the subject of "belonging", who sets the standard anyway? We all bring different experiences to the table. A person can't be measured in the ways they "suffer" either. We are all the same in that the pain we feel is real.


seussgirl on March 16, 2009 at 5:57 AM said...

Such a heartbreaking, beautiful story of your family. Thank you for sharing it.

Kristin on March 16, 2009 at 7:04 AM said...

Thank you so much for opening up and sharing your story. You definitely belong in this community and I am so very glad you are here my friend.

Liv on March 16, 2009 at 7:05 AM said...

You know it's really coincidental that you wrote this. Because just last night as I was going to bed I was wondering what your "story" was. In NO way would I have ever thought that you didn't belong...I was just wondering what were the circumstances that brought you to the ALI community. I'm sorry that you felt compelled to have to justify yourself - I for one, couldn't imagine you not here. But, I am glad you did share, simply so that myself and others understand a little better in where you need support.

I myself have thought many times, OMG what if people think I am a fraud! Especially when I started blogging. In fact I started out just writing in Word and not starting a blog, because what if I got pregnant as soon as I started. Surely people will think that I'm an idiot for including myself in that group. I dismissed the fact that I was already eight years into this journey simply because I didn't have the same experiences of treatments, RE's, and loss.

All in all, you are a huge part of this group. I see your comments everywhere. You have gone above and beyond in being supportive to me. Sometimes I say, "Dang that Beautiful Mess - How does she beat me to the punch when she's on the WEST COAST" :o)


MoxieMamaKC on March 16, 2009 at 8:19 AM said...

As someone who has never lost a child, but had a heck of time having my daughter, I think support is important no matter what. One of the best things about the online community is the support. You've been wonderfully supportive of my blog and I'm glad you're in the online world! Keep up the great work! Your blog is fantastic.

sunflowerchilde on March 16, 2009 at 9:31 AM said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story, I had been wondering about it. I wonder about myself a lot, too, because of course every month I think "this is the month!" and then it'll all be over and I won't belong anymore. But then I hang out with someone IRL who's fertile and they don't get it at all, and I realize that I DO belong here, because I know what it's like. I doubt it's something I will ever forget. These experiences really change you and you can never go back, I think.

Rachel Goldman on March 16, 2009 at 9:51 AM said...

That is an incredible story. I'm looking forward to reading your blog.

natalie on March 16, 2009 at 10:05 AM said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It gave me chills, in good ways and a couple bad. This post is extremely brave, and I hope you feel better for sharing :)

Jill on March 16, 2009 at 11:07 AM said...

Thank you for sharing your story! You absolutely belong! And your support is always welcome amazing to have :)

Deathstar on March 16, 2009 at 11:08 AM said...

Thank you so much for sharing your experience - we are all breathing in and taking in your story. This is true compassion. Thank you for your encouragement. We are all richer because of it.

Marie on March 16, 2009 at 11:09 AM said...

What a wonderful story. I just want to let you know that you have offered support to me many times and I feel lucky to be able to read your blog and consider you a bloggy buddy.

alicia on March 16, 2009 at 11:20 AM said...

YAY!!!! I am so glad you are branching out and saying that you belong, because of course you do!!! thank you for sharing your story, it is an amazing one and one I am soooo glad ended with 2 beautiful children! you words will offer support to many, I know it! and I am glad you have this community to get support from too!

luv ya!

Mommy (You can call me OM) on March 16, 2009 at 4:04 PM said...

Thank you for the comment on my blog. And, thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I'm sorry you had to go through such pain and I'm grateful you ignored medical advice regarding your daughter.
I read some of the earlier post about molestation. Again, I'm sorry you had to go through that pain. I don't know what you 'should' do in regards to 'outing' Frank. But, I wholeheartedly agree that you should never subject your children to him. I've worked with sex offenders. In my opinion, they never change.

Stacie on March 16, 2009 at 6:32 PM said...

I am so glad you shared your story! I have to say that it is quite a history. Boy you have been put through the wringer!

Much love!

The Muser (aka Beautiful Mama) on March 16, 2009 at 7:29 PM said...

Your story is beautiful and heart-breaking and...holy. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JamieD on March 17, 2009 at 4:27 AM said...

Thank you for sharing your story - it is good to 'meet' you!

I have often had the same feelings of not belonging or fitting in. I haven't been through a fraction of what some of these incredibly strong ladies have been through. But I finally learned that no matter where we came from or what faces us, we will always support each other. It is a wonderful community to be a part of and I am glad you are here!

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for sharing your story with me. You're right, pain is pain in the long run. I'm what I would call an 'other' of sorts too...I have struggled with years of infertility, but did have a son eventually (though I'm hoping to have yet another child). I've also never experienced a m/c. I guess we've all got our own stories, but have the common thread of children not coming easy, in whichever way that is.

Side note, I had a very hard pregnancy with my son and ended up on 12 1/2 weeks bedrest at home with a terb pump. Ugh, I'm terrified that will happen again to me!


Coffeegrl on March 17, 2009 at 7:01 PM said...

You are so sweet and supportive to me on my blog - I'm thrilled you're here! I too wonder sometimes if I belong. But when I'm having a down day and remember weeks of waiting and counting and hoping and turning to the blogs of others and reading their kind words and hearing similar thoughts and feelings (no matter how different our stories might be) I am reminded that we ALL belong. What a journey you've been on. That can't be denied and it sounds like it's definitely a part of who you are. I'm glad you're here :-)

Jim and Jenn on March 18, 2009 at 5:36 AM said...

I am sorry this is the first time I have commented. I just had to leave a message for you.

Being a new blogger in the IF community I cannot tell you how much it means to me when someone from the IF community leaves me a comment.

You have left a few comments on my blog and they have been incredibly supportive.
I have followed your blog ever since.

Thank you for your courage, wisdom, love and support in sharing your story. I was tearful in the end reading it but felt that much closer to you for having done so.

You TOTALLY belong in this IF community and thank you for being here!

SS on March 18, 2009 at 11:18 AM said...

Of course you belong! Thank you for sharing your story. I think we all feel at times like we don't belomng for one reason or another. You are such a great addition, you have so much to offer, just through sharing your experiences. But I know you also provide a lot of support to others through your comments. Thanks for posting this!

And so it goes (by AshaAnn) on March 18, 2009 at 5:32 PM said...

I appreciated every word of your story. I think I find that the strength in community- face to face or online- is in shared stories, the places in our lives where our stories intersect, and event the places where they diverge. Thanks for sharing yours. And thanks for stopping by my blog. I truly appreciate it.

In Due Time on March 18, 2009 at 8:37 PM said...

I often have days where I am thinking "Why am I blogging, no one cares about this shit but my crazy ass" lol

This year marks 5 yrs TTC but I still don't feel "infertile enough"

LOL @ your son. A *is* cute. Heh! Playdate could turn into an arranged marriage. Ha ha!

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