Infertility & Loss

sad-rose-1

I’m writing this post from a ridiculously hipster coffee shop in Portland, Oregon. It’s a post I’ve thought about writing for some time now but also a post that I always hoped would never be necessary.

I also never intended to write this post today, but, there’s just something about traveling that always makes me take a big step back from my life and see it all in a slightly different way. I think it’s simply that when I’m at home, I’m busy doing things ALL of the time. However, now, in another city, I’m able to slow down a bit and…think.

I’m just going to come out and say it all so that the awkward part is over….and then maybe explain a bit more. We’ve been trying since last summer to get pregnant. The process has been one of the most exhausting and trying things that I have gone through. It was fun for the first 9 months but now, it kind of just sucks. Younger me never would have believed that I’d be almost thirty and still didn’t have kids.

In July of this year, I finally got a positive pregnancy test. We were cautiously excited. I told three good friends of mine (mostly because all three of them were also pregnant) and no one else (I mean, besides Stephen of course). I watched every day as the line on the pee stick got darker (yes, I KEPT taking pregnancy tests even after getting the initial positive test). I just so happened to have my yearly gyno appointment scheduled for the next week. They confirmed the pregnancy and set up my first ultrasound.

Unfortunately, the pregnancy wasn’t viable. It was a very early miscarriage which, if I’m looking at things positively, I’m very thankful for (the *early* part, not the miscarriage part).  Shortly after that, I found out how sick my father was and haven’t really had the mental or emotional capacity to even think about the whole baby thing much….until now. On many levels, this has been one of the MOST trying years of my entire life. I’ve dealt with a lot of things that make life what it is. Things that as a privileged, very lucky, and very sheltered person, I’ve never had to deal with.

My main goal here is simply to talk. Talk through this whole thing with myself, talk through it with you, talk through all of it with SO many women (and men too really) that I know have, are, or at some point will go through the same thing. Because it really fucking sucks.

And ya know what, NO ONE REALLY TALKS ABOUT. I mean, if you don’t want to talk about it, that’s 100% cool (honestly, I have a lot of respect for that). But if you do want to talk about it, you absolutely should feel comfortable doing so. Up until now, most people didn’t even know that Stephen and I were trying to get pregnant. It wasn’t something that we talked about publicly, even with our closest family members. Which, is kind of ridiculous. I felt like I wasn’t supposed to talk about it. Like some weird taboo. Like, couples haven’t been making babies since…the existence of mankind.

I was amazed to find out that something like 1 in 4 women have at least one miscarriage in their life. 25% is a HUGE number considering about .001% talk about it (that last number is completely made up, for the record).  I would have guessed that it was something more like 1% of women have a miscarriage at some point in their life. Nope. one. in. four. I have also read that anywhere between 10-20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage.

When I went to the bathroom at work and saw that I was bleeding immensely, I felt ashamed. I lied to my boss and my co-workers for days saying that I just didn’t feel good and needed to take a couple sick days (which I guess wasn’t technically a lie…just not the whole truth). I was so ashamed. To say to my boss “I need to take a couple sick days because I had a miscarriage” seemed bad, sinful, and most certainly unprofessional. “Keep your baggage to yourself” is what I heard in my head. I wouldn’t have DREAMED of telling them the truth which….looking at it now, seems pretty ridiculous. Why did I feel such a need to hide something that is 1) natural 2) extremely common and 3) completely out of my control. And, just for the record, I work with some genuinely wonderful people. It wasn’t them specifically that I was ashamed to tell but rather the social norms I felt the need to follow.

So, I’m simply here today to talk about it. To put this out there: I had a miscarriage. It sucked. I want very badly to be pregnant and to have a baby and it’s simply not happening for me right now. It sucks. I feel ashamed to say it all out loud, like a cuss word whispered in a room filled with sweet old ladies you’re scared will think less of you. It. Sucks. I genuinely try and stay on the positive, upbeat side of life, but lately, I’ve struggled with that.

I promised myself that the whole “making a baby” process would just be fun. I wasn’t going to be one of those crazy women that bought fertility books, took ovulation tests, checked my temperature, and said things like “okay honey, it’s that time of month!” (bleh!). And ya know what, I’ve managed to do all of those things lately (minus the whole temperature thing but only because I haven’t figured it out yet). I hate that making a baby didn’t come naturally to us. I mean…you know what I mean. I envisioned that we would start trying for a baby and within about 6 months, be breaking the happy news to our parents. Easy. Fun. <<<<<not real life.

I read quite a bit about “rainbow babies” which are babies conceived shortly after a miscarriage. My miscarriage was early enough on that I was able to start trying again right away and felt certain that it would work out in this way for me. But, not so much. I held onto that hope pretty tight and when it didn’t happen, the reality of the lose hit me even greater.

Last year I was certain that we’d be buying cute little onsies to give our parents at Christmas that said “World’s best grandparents” or something equally as cheesy to break the news. When that didn’t happen, I thought, okay, there’s still Valentines Day. Nope. Mother’s Day? Nope. Groundhogs Day perhaps? Nada. Then I figured…alright THIS Christmas, those damn onsies are gonna happen this year. Sorry mom, not this year. Maybe mothers day of 2017?

The not knowing is the hardest part. Maybe something’s wrong with me. Maybe we just haven’t gotten “lucky” yet. And not to sound bitter or anything but PLEASE do not tell me that “it’ll happen when it happens…just don’t think about it”. Or else, I might punch you. Add those to the list of things you should never say to a wanna be parent. Although, to be perfectly fair, I know you’re only trying help.

Another challenge for us in all of this has been the waiting. In many aspects, we’ve pressed pause on our lives waiting for something that hasn’t yet happened (and that we’re not 100% sure even will). I quit playing roller derby last year….turns out, I could have played this entire season with no problem to a fetus. I actually went back to skate this past summer thinking that maybe I’d take it up casually. 2 weeks later I got the positive pregnant test so naturally I stopped attending the practices of my full contact sport. Then the miscarriage happened and I just never went back again. We also passed up what looks like a very lovely trip to England with Stephen’s family. When the trip was first mentioned to us, we discussed it and decided not to go because we were sure that I’d be either 7+ months pregnant and not really wanting to travel OR even better, we hoped we’d have a newborn baby at the time.

It’s hard to go on as normal, making plans and mapping out our future, when we’re hoping for such a life changing event to occur (but it doesn’t). It’s like being in this weird state of limbo that I’m powerless to emerge from.

Its all made me take a step back and think to myself “Are you sure you even want kids!?”. Turns outs, the answer to that is a resounding YES. No doubt about it. I’m officially very ready.

I’m ashamed to admit this, but seeing other women who are pregnant or already have babies makes me jealous. Hearing of my many friends and family members who got pregnant their first month of trying makes me jealous (and irrationally a little angry). And yet, I’m simultaneously nothing but happy for them. I wouldn’t wish this feeling on my worst enemy. I realize that the jealousy is irrational and unfair but admitting that I feel that way helps me move past it.

I think a few of my friends lately (who know I’ve been trying) have been nervous to tell me they’re pregnant or talk to me about their pregnancies and I feel terrible about that. So, please don’t hesitate…I want to celebrate with you (I promise!).

I greatly apologize if this post came across as overly negative. That was not my intention. However, the honest truth is that I’ve kept most of these feelings hidden away for too long and with too much shame. I do my best to see the positive in all of this but I also think it’s 100% fine to just say “Ya know what, this fucking sucks and I want to talk about”. So….

Hi, I’m Brita and my husband and I are trying to get pregnant. Welcome to that journey. Because I’ve opened up about all of this, I want to keep talking about it. I hope to post a few more times about the process, possible next steps, and continued feelings. Hopefully, future posts will be significantly less rambly and a tad bit more organized. But, I can’t make any promises.

And, I really hope to make this a conversation. If you’ve gone through (or are going through) something like this and want to talk about it, PLEASE let me know. Leave a comment or you can email me privately.

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15 comments on “Infertility & Loss”

  1. Your honesty and bare truth inspires me. And makes me so proud of your strength and determination. I Love You my Beautiful daughter❤️
  2. Big big hugs from having the courage and heart to share this with us. I hope no one feels alone or ashamed in grappling with this or any other affair of the heart and body. <3 You are awesome for starting the conversation and creating a safe space for it.
  3. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss and your trials with this process. Full disclosure, I am not pregnant, have never been pregnant, tried to get pregnant, but I know plenty who have been in all of those categories and also plenty who have had a miscarriage. I commend your ability to write about such a tough and usually private topic to poignantly. I agree that it should not be such a shameful, private process. I don't know if this will make you angry, but in general those early losses are for the best. In general, that means that something was devastatingly wrong with the fetus. In addition, you've been through so much lately that likely contributed. Stress is a very powerful thing and can for sure be a reason for why someone cannot get pregnant or even lose a pregnancy if the stress is severe enough. Most people don't want to hear such things, but finding ways to decrease your stress may help (in all aspects, but particularly if thinking about getting pregnant and everything to do with it is stressing you out). I wish you the best on your journey and hope you are one day able to get the children you want.
    • As a person who has been through two miscarriages herself, telling someone that the stress they have been through lately likely contributed to their miscarriage or infertility is so hurtful and insensitive. I don't say this to start an argument, but merely as way of bringing light to comments that unknowably can do more harm than good. I know you didn't mean it that way, but when someone goes through a miscarriage, the very first thing they feel is SHAME, GUILT, and the feeling that they did something wrong (including the stress they are under). The first thing that my midwife told me after both my miscarriages was "You did nothing wrong to cause this." I realized she said this because all women experience these feelings of guilt when they have lost their baby. The truth is, only her doctor or midwife can really give her answers as to why it may have happened. And you know what really sucks, someones not even doctors know why it happens. People experience enormous stress day in and day out and STILL have healthy babies. Hell, women who smoke crack can still have babies to full term, so when I hear comments like this I feel such anger inside. I'm sorry, but you really have no right to try to place blame on any one thing as to why this happened. I would encourage you to really be mindful about how that comment would be received by someone who just had a miscarriage or is experiencing infertility. More often than not, those types of comments can be internalized and only ADD to the shame and guilt women feel.
  4. I feel your pain and I am so sorry. No one should have to go through this. It SUCKS! We tried for 3.5 years to get pregnant. In that time, after the first 6 months of baby making bliss passed, we tried everything. Temperature, charts, acupuncture, herbs, medical tests, gave up opportunities, had surgery, psychics, and then moved on to fertility treatments. We had 5 failed IUIs. I was battling depression, I was considering sperm donors, adoption, anything - even leaving my husband (which was just the depression talking) since the problem must have been both of us. We were told we could try IVF but at such a steep cost when we had already spent so much money, and I was emotionally spent. We kept trying and kept hoping. Our daughter was conceived naturally and then we had our son after "just" 9 months of trying. We call them our miracles (even though all babies are). I am not telling you this to say that it will get harder, or even that you will succeed, but that I have been there. I feel your pain. Try not to let it consume you, it is so easy for it to do so.
  5. Brita, I can't even tell you how great it is that more women like yourself are raising their hands and their voices and sharing their experiences with infertility and loss. Whether you've had miscarriages or haven't been able to get pregnant, the experience is the same. The SHAME, sadness, and GRIEF, seem to stay with you. Before we had my son, we had two miscarriages, which were the most horrific experiences I have ever faced. The hard part was, I didn't have any women in my family who knew what I was going through. For the most part, everyone was really loving and supportive with the exception of a few random comments that really did not help AT ALL. Your right, people really ARE trying to help, but the insensitive comments usually come from people who have never been through it and are so uncomfortable with the sadness that they hope they give you a smile or make you feel better. What they don't realize is that there really is NOTHING anyone can say to fix it. There really is NO "fixing" of this awful and tragic situation. Talking about it more I think is the best way to help others understand that the last thing you need to think about is trying to make a person feel better. The only thing one should try to do is just be present, and FEEL the sadness and grief with them, and know that it's OK to feel like shit. We are constantly running away from grief, because we are so afraid to lose those around us. But loss and grief is the ONE thing that we all inevitably experience. There is no escaping it. So talking about it is the only way to find some healing. Grief is just too damn hard to do on our own, so we shouldn't have to. I will say that literally everything you are feeling and expressed is exactly what I felt (and still feel at times). And yes, telling you to just have faith and keep trying is the LAST thing anyone who has gone through this wants to hear. My only bit of advice is to connect with the women and men around you who have been through the same thing and continue to open up as you so bravely have done today. And I say this will ALL HONESTY, even though I only met you once, I am free to talk just to be an empathic listener. Just email me and I can give you my number if you wish. Talking about it, more than anything, helps to relieve the burden of shame. Thank you for being authentic and vulnerable. That is the definition of courage. Much love to you and Stephen.
  6. You know all about our journey to have kids and how crazy, angry, and depressed I was throughout it all. You aren't alone here and I'm glad you are talking about it. Talking helped me tremendously but then again I'm a talk through it person. I'm here for you whenever you need anything. Hang in there girl ❤️
  7. While I haven't had any miscarriages, it took us over 2 years of trying plus a few IUIs to make our kiddo. You're right, the entire process sucks donkey balls. Every month you get your hopes up - again - and every month it doesn't happen. You drive yourself crazy thinking "is this a pregnancy sign?" I'm a super private person, so I didn't talk about it at the time except with a few very close friends and family. I didn't feel ashamed by it, I just was having a hard enough time dealing with it and didn't want the added stressor of (well-intentioned but ultimately idiotic) people constantly asking if I was pregnant yet, or offering "advice". But that's just how I deal with the hard things - I hope you talk all you need and want to about it. There are lots of people like us out there.
  8. Oh, my wonderful friend. What a beautiful post this is. Thank you for sharing your life with us, and promoting the notion that it is normal, and encouraged, for women to be able to be open about this topic. I had a very early miscarriage as well, and we weren't trying at the time, and it opened the door to the conversation about having kids. I'm one of those women that you are trying not to hate, because our little girl was conceived the very next month. I wish I could pass on my fertility juju to you, because I would give it in a heartbeat. A nanosecond. A millionth of a blink. Love you, girl.
  9. I am so sorry to hear that you are going through all of this, but it is beautiful and amazing that you can open up about it- you're so right, it really shouldn't be taboo. I haven't gone through this myself, but I have had several friends who have struggled with infertility and you can see that admitting it and talking about it is such an immediate release of the alone-ness and the stress. You are so not alone in this and I have no doubt that this lovely community is going to step up and we will be here to support you. Big hugs xo
  10. When I had my miscarriage, it was a couple days before Christmas. At the family party, people avoided me. It was like they didn't want to discuss it, acknowledge it, I'm not sure. But it made it worse. It sucked. Bravo to you for sharing your grief in such a public manner to engage people in the conversation.
  11. You have no reason to be ashamed or feel guilty for anything you're feeling. My husband & I tried for a year to get pregnant with our first child. We lost the first pregnancy too and it sucked. I totally hear you, you're happy for the people announcing their pregnancy but you're so jealous and angry that it's not YOU announcing yours. You've put in your time and blood, sweat, and tears, why aren't YOU pregnant? I remember sitting at my mom's house with my younger sister, I hadn't told my family we were trying either. My sister told us she was pregnant with her second and I just burst into tears. My mom thought I was upset because I was going to tell them I was pregnant and she beat me to the punch. How I wish that was the reason. I'm sorry your struggling, I'm sorry you're going through all this crap. It's not fair and it sucks. I wouldn't wish it upon anyone. I hope that the future brings you the child you're trying for and if it does, all of the tears and pain are worth it. I'd go through that whole struggle again knowing what I know now. I'll keep you in my thoughts. Lots of hugs your way.
  12. Oh Brita, I'm so happy you wrote this - Partly because I think it's great for more women (or men) to be talking about this, but also because I know you wanted to get it off your chest. Props to you for taking the leap. My heart goes out to you guys ... I can only imagine the stress and frustration you're going through, and it's something I'm really scared I'll experience myself. I hope you never feel ashamed of a miscarriage in the future, although I'm sure some part of yourself deep down as a woman can't help but feel some sense of failure. It sucks. Women hold a lot of responsibility when it comes to creating a family, because you have to create and care for another human WITH YOUR BODY. It's absolutely insane, and that alone can be a huge weight on our shoulders when we have spouses or family members "counting on us" to deliver. Like, literally deliver a baby. You're an amazing, strong person, and I have no doubt that you will get through this. We're all here for you and we want to support you in whatever way we can, so please keep sharing. xoxo
  13. Hi Brita, this is Kathy and I'm sorry to hear about your loss but would applaud your courage to share all that. I have a friend who is 36 and with the same situation so I know what you are going through. I wish you all the best!
  14. Thank you for your honesty. You are not alone. Many things are not as easy as some would have you believe. Coming from a family of very fertile women it was exhausting to try and try but no luck. Blame and depression sets in even though there is no one to blame. Crying and leaving the room when your sister says she is pregnant again after having spent two years trying is not a adult reaction but it is a real one. Hope sometimes is easier to believe in than faith.