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The “D” Word

January 20, 2010 32 comments

The other night I took a step… a BIG step.  I said it out loud, I admitted it to myself and those around me.  After talking for a while with my mom and A, I had headed to bed.  I got on twitter again finally, after spending very little time on it in the last weeks, and I posted this:

just when i felt I had life in control… today it crumbles again. I am saying this for the first time to others… I am depressed

For some that might not be hard to say.  For me, it is.  I have always been the bubbly one, the goofy one, the HAPPY one.  I am the friend that is good for a laugh and a good time.  I am the one to cheer up others and be there for them.  And I feel like I have lost that part of me.  Each day is spent trying to survive, to find some bit of me inside, to deal with what life is handing me.  Emotionally, I am spent, I am exhausted, and I am lost.

When I started this blog, I didn’t plan for it to be so somber.  So, please, hang with me while I work through this.  I am on a journey and, unfortunately, the starting line isn’t quite where I thought it was.

I lead a very blessed life, I know that.  Especially when I see what is happening elsewhere in the world right now, the pain, the suffering, I am reminded even more.  But that is the thing with depression.  It isn’t about not appreciating what you have.  It isn’t about not being thankful.  I keep having to remind myself of that when I get angry because I can’t just “get over it” or “move on”.

Our Little Girl, Sydney

Our Little Girl

So, where did I lose myself?  When did the sadness overtake me?  Maybe it was lingering there for a while.  Maybe it was just at the edge of my mind.  But the day I lost my little girl, it took over.  Since the day of that ultrasound, I have tried to be myself, tried to heal.  But I can’t.  Nothing carries the significance it did before.  Nothing brings the same joy or laughter.  Nothing is as rewarding or fun.  God, am I really saying that?  I am blessed with a beautiful and healthy boy, but I am incomplete?  But I am.  I feel it every day.  I feel that void and can’t ignore it any longer.  The void weighs me down and makes everything more difficult.

At work, I have taken huge professional hits.  Of course all of this comes at a time I am being asked to grow and mature professionally.  How can someone do that when they are in survival mode?  How is it possible to grow when you are barely living?  These hits and stress add to the pain and the hurt.  They compound the already humbling realization that I can not handle the life before me.  And I cry.  At the office.  I weep because I can’t do it, I am less than I was and I am angry.

Last weekend A and I went to an event for his work.  It was just after one of these professional hits.  I felt broken in so many ways.  I felt as if I didn’t know myself any longer.  Although I know nearly all the people that would be there and enjoy them all, I had a lump in my throat.  And then it happened.  Just before we exit the car.  We end up talking about me, how he wants to help me.  How he wants to fix it.  FIX IT?  You mean, FIX ME!?  I have known I am broken but it tore me apart to think he may think I am a broken person too.  He explains that he just wants me to be happy.  Well, I am just so fucking sorry that I can’t be little miss sunshine for you!  And then I weep.  I cry because I know his desire for my happiness isn’t for him, but for me.  I know this, but what he says burns.  He tells me that he is worried that my being so concerned with getting pregnant is what is causing me to be so unhappy.  This just enrages me again!  I can’t tell you why.  I can’t explain why the idea of someone making me out to be a woman who desperately wants a baby infuriates me, but it does!  IT DOES!  Maybe it is because I am not supposed to be having to worry about this.  I am supposed to be finalizing my little girl’s nursery and planning for her to be born exactly one month from today.  I yell at him that I am depressed because I had it and lost it!  And I cry.  We talk for a while longer.  I know how much he loves me and just wants me to be happy.  Yes, happy… for me.  I wipe my tears, we enter the room and we say hello to his business partner and his newly pregnant wife.

Today I sat in the office of my OBGYN for my annual visit.  I cried.  I cried as she looked at me knowing the last time she saw me, the first time she met me, was as she told me my options for handling the baby that had died inside me.  I cried as I said the words. out loud. the “D” word.  As I told her about the last year.  I cried.  And then a few hours later I sat in the office of our Reproductive Endocrinologist.  A and he had fun teasing me about my assertion that I don’t want “him to get us pregnant”.  We all chuckled as I couldn’t quite explain myself.  We talked about options and then I cried again.  As I tried to form the words to explain that I can’t say I want another baby badly because to do so makes it real.  And then I have to deal with the fears.  The fear of loss again and that leading to more surgery and pain and procedures.  The fear of not being able to conceive on our own.  The fear of everything.  I cry as I try to explain this.

And then, tonight, I sit here and I cry.  February 19, one month from today.  It was supposed to be my dream come true.  I feel robbed of my story.  How perfect it was with a surprise pregnancy, the perfect results of the blood work and the perfect ultrasound!  My smile was so big and I was walking on clouds.  I felt so blessed and so honored to have had another baby pick me to be its mother.  And as quickly as she came into my life she was gone.  From perfect to gone.  And with her went my joy.  And with her went my heart.  And with her went a piece of me that I have not been able to heal.

So, yes, I am depressed.  It is destroying me.  It is wrecking havoc on my life.  I am a shadow of who I once was.  I am not a good friend right now.  I cry.  I yell.  I DO want a baby.  I feel robbed and cheated and angry.  Maybe for some this isn’t a big deal, but for me it is.  For me, my world is broken and I have no idea how to stop the flow of heartache.

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Wordless Wednesday 12/2/09

December 2, 2009 4 comments

A, M, and I at a beautiful wedding in July

I love this picture of my family from a wedding we were in on July 11, 2009.  We look so joyful (and beautiful if I do say so myself).  But I will always be a bit sad looking at it, knowing that in my belly was my little girl, Sidney.  This was the day after we found out we had lost her and 2 days before the D&C.  At that very moment the thought in my head was “Dear God, I am so thankful for this little man you blessed me with.  Please give me strength to get through this loss.”

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Saying goodbye

July 26, 2009 5 comments

On Saturday morning, I received a phone call from Dr. Henry. Let me emphasize that it was HIM that called, not a nurse… I love having him as a doctor! He wanted to check in on me and to tell me the results of the chromosome screening. They found that it was an abnormal pregnancy. Something in the splitting of all the chromosomes didn’t go as it should. He said it is a very common cause of miscarriage. This was a relief in the sense that we now don’t have to move forward with surgery and we can feel confident that our next roll of the dice will go better. He is keeping me on estrogen supplements for a week and then will have me on birth control for a few weeks. After that, everything should be back to normal, at least physically.

Emotionally is another story. We also found out that it was a girl. I wasn’t surprised… somehow I already knew. I have said for a while that I would be the mother of boys, yet from the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew it was a girl. Aaron and I talked and as soon as I knew the sex, I felt a need to give our baby a name. So, we thought it over and we have named our baby Sidney. Before we were even pregnant I had brought that up as a possible girl’s name. I like it and it is the name of Aaron’s paternal grandfather that passed away last year. So, it seemed fitting that our little angel share the name of her great-grandfather who she is in heaven with.

Healing from this so far has been an interesting ride. It is so different from the last time. That was our first pregnancy and the normal feelings of loss were compounded with a fear of never being able to have kids. I wasn’t able to be around women that were pregnant or young babies. It was all too overwhelming. So it is a blessing this time around that I don’t have to deal with those fears. I don’t have to overcome jealousy and fear. However, that time we never saw an actual baby, it was more the loss of the concept. When we had the ultrasound that time they couldn’t find anything, so the baby never really “took”. That didn’t “lessen” the pain, but it was different than this time. Sidney was as real to me as M was when we first laid eyes on him. Seeing the shape of a baby and her heartbeat solidified her place in our lives. At that moment we became a family of four. So this time I face a true mourning of that loss. It is more concrete. It is more tangible. In is no harder or easier, just different. We are taking it a day at a time and trying to find our way. It is good to have M to keep us moving and laughing. And there is the need to be there for him that keeps us moving forward. But I do find myself totally overcome with emotions, usually out of the blue. I will simply just be moved to tears at a given moment. I try to just let it come when I feel the need.

I pray that the healing continues and that Sidney is in heaven and knows that, although we never met her, we loved her all the same. She was a blessing to us, truly a gift from God.

Tomorrow starts a new day

July 13, 2009 2 comments

 

Monday, July 6, was one of the best days of my life. And Friday, July 10, was one of the worst. Monday I got to see the heartbeat of our little surprise. I was comforted to see the baby, heart racing, snuggled safely in my tummy. It was perfect. Everything was perfect. Our little peanut was already almost 8 weeks along. Our chances of bringing that baby home in 7 months was over 95%! We started imagining our life as a family of 4. Things seemed to be more complete, more right. However, the rest of that week was a roller coaster of fear and hope. From one crazy episode of bleeding to another, but all without the tell-tale pain. Still having a good feeling about this one, we chose to have an ultrasound done on Friday to ease our fears before the big wedding weekend. I was so nervous before the ultrasound that I nearly had a panic attack. I could feel my heart in my throat. The nurse began the ultrasound and I explained how we hadn’t told M about the baby but were planning to as soon as we saw the heartbeat again since he was with us. My first indication that something was wrong was when I caught a glimpse of a measurement and it measured 7w3d. I knew we measured 7w5d 4 days earlier. I tried to not worry about that since it is all based on the screener’s mouse clicks and we had a different nurse this time. But I did notice that I wasn’t picking up that little beating speck like last time. Still, nothing seemed too alarming. But before I know it, half the screen became a series of flattened wavy lines. I hadn’t seen something like that before on an ultrasound and I asked what it was. As I asked and saw her face I knew the answer. I said to her “there is no heartbeat is there”. And that is the moment my life changed. That is the moment I lost my baby. I have miscarried before and it was life altering and terrifying. But there was never a heartbeat, never an image. This time we came home to the pictures we had taken of our baby just 4 days ago hanging on the fridge. Never in my life have I been so high and so low in such a short time.

Tomorrow I will be going in for a D&C… my third. My body really loves to be pregnant. Seriously. It refuses to let go of anything inside of me. I find this to be an interesting metaphor for my personality. So, we faced a difficult decision. Do we allow nature to take its course, knowing that my body will likely refuse to give up on this baby? Or do we take the chance of more scarring and complications? Knowing that this was a healthy pregnancy until the 8 week mark, I know I couldn’t endure this miscarriage. There would be no way to miss the loss of this child. It would be painfully obvious. And then I would likely still have to have the surgery. Instead we will take this opportunity to find some answers. We will have the D&C in the hands of one of the most wonderful doctors I have ever met. Our baby will then be tested to discover if it was an abnormality that caused it to not survive. If it was, we will be comforted to know that we have good prospects of the coin landing the other way next time. But if it was a normal, healthy baby, we will know that the scars of my past D&Cs likely caused this. And we will then be headed for a few months of recovery and another surgery. We will also learn the sex of our baby through all this. I am simultaneously excited and terrified about this prospect. A part of me that needs this baby to be validated as real feels that knowing the sex will make my pain more relevant, more understandable. A part of me that needs to push this pain away just to survive can’t handle knowing if I lost my first little girl or Maddox’s little brother. It will be a gift and a curse to know.

I don’t know how to handle this. I bounce from positive and hopeful to panicky and blurry-eyed. I have been overwhelmed and lifted by the love and support of my family and friends. I have found peace in the stories of my sisters out there that have lost and gone on to have beautiful babies. I have wept for those that have lost too. I feel guilty for wanting more. I question if I should even try. I have a perfect, wonderful little boy and I know so many that are fighting so hard to get that. Should I be fighting for MORE? I feel guilty for not being able to keep safe Aaron’s little joy. I know in my head that I have no control, but there is guilt regardless. I am brought back to the anger at my body, the frustration. The same things that it took 2.5 years of an amazing nursing relationship to heal. And I am angry to be feeling these emotions again! I feel robbed, I feel cheated. From moment one, Aaron and I were calling the baby a girl… did I lose my chance for my little girl? I can’t believe that I am here again. And then I feel guilty for all this self-pity because I know how lucky I really am.
Tomorrow will be a day of mourning. It will be a day of recovery. And I hope it will start the days of healing.

 

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A Found Memory

May 27, 2009 4 comments

Welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding readers! Thanks for visiting! Be sure to check out the other contributors, whose links are listed at the end of this post. Also, please share your thoughts or comments!

As my son is now weaned, here is a story from August 18, 2007. It is one that means more to me than just about any other.

I was just nursing Maddox and my mind was wandering as it usually does. But this time I stumbled upon a memory that had been lost for a long time and I felt compelled to share this with all of you. I suddenly realized how much breastfeeding is at the core of who I am. When I was at my Peer Counselor training I had made the comment to one of the amazing women there that breastfeeding had changed me at the deepest levels of who I am. She said, “I don’t think it has changed you as much as it has helped you find a part of you that you did not know”. I thought that this was profound and it changed my view quite a bit. But now this new found memory just totally solidifies that!

So, here it is… first of all, some background.

Before having Maddox, Aaron and I became pregnant. We were ecstatic, but we lost that baby early on. The miscarriage broke me, shattered me. And to make matters worse, it continued for nearly 2 months. My body had retained something from the pregnancy and after the miscarriage it continued to grow and my HCG levels began to rise. The ordeal lasted several weeks before I finally had to have a D&C. I had blood drawn nearly every other day during those months, along with the surgery, and the pain of not being able to move on. It was a true low point for me emotionally. I was very angry and have realized since then that I was depressed and mad at my body for not “working”. I mourned this loss, but was steadfast in wanting to be a mother and wanted to allow that to happen as soon as this wonderful world felt it was time. At first, Aaron was completely with me. But as the drama drew on over those two months, fear began to wear on him. Then the realities of being a father began to scare him. Soon we found that we were arguing about whether or not to try again right away. I was again devastated… after all, if my body had done what it was supposed to I would be pregnant with my baby. I felt robbed all over again.

This is where the memory comes into play… this is something I had forgotten until now. One night during all of this I had a dream. It was so real that when I woke up I was in tears and could still FEEL it. I had a dream that I was nursing my child. I could FEEL the warmth of his body, smell his sweet scent, and FEEL the overwhelming love and pride created by this connection. I woke up and told Aaron, as I cried in his arms, that I need this, I am ready, I need to have my baby in my arms. I need to feed my child from my breast and connect with him in this miraculous way. It was not long after that that we were able to work through his fears and come to an agreement.

At the time the dream was nothing more than that, a signal to me that I wanted a child more than anything in the world. But, now, 2 years later, I see so much more. I find it intriguing that, even though at the time breastfeeding was not something I had thought much about other than knowing I wanted to do it because it was best, it was rooted in my soul as the pinnacle of mothering. It represented to me the absolute most basic and profound experiences of motherhood. Without giving it direct thought, I KNEW that breastfeeding would be the greatest joy of my early relationship with my child. How? Was it something engrained in my psyche from being breastfed myself? I will never know the answer to that, but I do know something now. My friend was so right. Breastfeeding hasn’t changed the core of who I am… it has been there as a part of my natural state. It has however helped me realize and fulfill that internal longing that had been resting so patiently inside of me.

Breastfeeding has offered me so many gifts. I have been thankful for its power to heal my anger at my body, for its ability to create a wonderful connection with my son, for its many health and emotional benefits to Maddox and I. But tonight, as I nursed Maddox back to sleep, I am thankful for it helping me become truly who I was meant to be. That is the true power of breastfeeding.

Goodnight all.
Crystal

Be sure to check out the posts from these other Carnival contributors:
Strocel:
The Story of Hannah’s Weaning
Bangerlm:
Weaning a Toddler
Stepping Off the Spaceship:
Life, Death, and Nourishment
So Fawned:
Sticking with It: Our Breastfeeding Story
Mommy News Blog:
How Breastfeeding Changed My Life
And All That Sazz:
Flying Breastmilk
Grudgemom:
Breastfeeding Failures and Success
Baby Carriers Down Under:
Kandy
Massachusetts Friends of Midwives:
The Best Breastfeeding Advice from the Least Likely Source
Breastfeeding 1-2-3:
The “I told you so”
Chronicles of a Nursing Mom:
Breastfeeding is not Easy, but it’s Definitely Best for Baby
Breastfeeding Moms Unite:
Can Early Public Breastfeeding Sightings Shape One’s Future Breastfeeding Practices?
Zen Mommy:
Celebrating my Chest, in Honor of Breastfeeding
The Towells:
Breastfeeding after Reduction Surgery
Blacktating:
Nursing in Public
Breastfeeding Mums:
Breastfeeding Made me the Mother I am