We are postponing round 2 until next month. My lining is looking much better but we only have one egg this month. We decided to save our funds and see if we have better odds. So my RE is planning to increase my dosage and we will continue on.
Our first round of treatment was unsuccessful. I’m not going to say failed, because I am watching my language. Even my RE was disappointed. All of our numbers looked promising. So we get to try again. I am changing my mantra from “No baby this month” to “we get to try again.” We are making a change to the medication we are using, as my RE felt that my lining was a little thin. As I was sitting on the exam table, I thought “how did this become my life.” It has become the norm to talk about ovulation, endometrial lining, egg count. I have had 5 ultrasounds in a month. I am a pro at putting my feet in stirrups. I know that I need to bring socks because my feet often get cold when I wait. I have to make sure my bladder is full or empty depending on what the ultrasound is meant to see or do. At the end of 2017, all I wanted for 2018 was a baby. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. As 2018 comes to a close, I am trying not to focus on what we don’t have. I am focusing on continuing to take steps. Small steps of 2% change. I can’t say what 2019 will bring. I am not terribly optimistic that this time next year will be any different. But we will keep trying.
I met with my therapist yesterday. I had not seen her in over a year. So much has happened in that time. I lost my job and secured a new one, I started co-leading a group of women who are trying to lose the weight of grief that comes with losing a child. I have made strides forward and taken steps back. I still carry so many of the aspects of my grief around with me everyday. So my therapist gave me some homework. She suggested that I find some stones and paint or decorate them to represent the things that I need to let go of; then I am going to take a walk and physically throw them away. So I have been thinking about the stones that I carry.
Failure of my body. – This is something that I know I will work on for a long time. I feel as though my body is broken. Something wasn’t right that cost Lincoln his life. I also feel that whatever that is, is keeping us from having a second child.
Fear – I actually need 3 stones for fear because I carry 3 types. I carry the fear of miscarriage. The chances of miscarriage after a still birth are real. I also carry the fear that we will have another stillborn child. The odds of this are fairly rare but it happens. I know. I have met loss moms who have multiple pregnancy and baby losses. The third fear is the strongest of all, and that is the fear of never having a living child, the fear of never having children that can be seen.
Jealousy – This is another that I think I will have to work on for a long time. Dealing with these feelings of “why did she get a baby and I didn’t.” Getting eaten up with envy as friends and family continue to announce new life.
Unworthiness – I constantly struggle with the feeling that I have done something that I need to be punished for. My child was taken because of some act that needed repentance in the form of my son.
Mistrust of life – When things go right, I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I don’t trust that the good times will last. I am always waiting for the next tragedy that will bring me down.
My therapists suggested that when my anxiety is talking I need to stop and think about my thinking. Try to stop the spiral. And throw the stones away. Even if I have to throw them away again and again. Sometimes I will need to go back and pick one up because I am not ready to let them go. And there are parts of my grief that I will always carry. The love of my son, the wish to know what he would look like, act like, smell like. The fact that he made me a mother.
Today, I am thinking about my tribe. I am facing a test today that is giving me a little bit of anxiety (ok a lot of anxiety). I am having a bubble test done. Without going into too much detail, they are testing to ensure that my Fallopian tubes are clear of any blockage. It is just one more step in our baby journey. Because of this test and my aforementioned anxiety, I have reached out to my tribe. I need some reassurance that all will be well, because I am assuming the worst. My mom, my sister, my sister-in-law have all heard my cries of what if. They are all always there for me. I never have to worry that they will listen or offer the shot in the arm I need. They pick me up when I am unable to carry my baggage. I am also part of this amazing group of women, who I only know through Facebook. They are the reason that I have finally lost my 15 pounds of grief weight. We listen to each other, understand each other, and rally each other to keep moving. And that is nothing to say for my husband and what he does for me. So I know when I walk into that exam room this afternoon, I will be lifted up by this amazing group that I call my tribe. And for that I am thankful.
I am in a funk. To start, it is holiday time. We survived Thanksgiving. But I was very disappointed again that few people talked about Lincoln unless I brought him up first. I get all kinds of responses when I post on social media but when in person, people seem to avoid the topic. It makes me want to scream and yet I wonder if it is something I should just accept. I read a post by another loss mom about this same thing. At the time her words resonated with me but now they are lost. I can’t remember what she said that at the time seemed so insightful. How can I accept that others don’t mention my son? It feels like betrayal. I hear all the time that people don’t know what to say. I don’t know that I can tell you the exact words, just let me know that you are missing him too and say it first. Don’t wait to see how I am feeling or if I might bring him up. Because of course I miss him, of course he is on my mind. Every. Single. Day. And now I am dreading Christmas. I am dreading the effort it takes to decorate, but I feel this need to make things sparkly and bright. As though that might ease the hurt in my heart that I won’t have to tell my toddler not to play with the ornaments or my other breakables. Lincoln should be here to share in the wonder of this season. He even has his own stocking now. There was a visitor at our office last week. My CFO has a grandson named Lincoln, born a month after our Lincoln. He was wandering around picking up phones and anything he could get his hands on. My heart ached with the thought of my mischievous little boy and all the things he should be getting into. On top of all of this, we are struggling to get pregnant again. We have been trying for close to a year with no success. And we don’t know why. We have met with a new doctor, who is running tests to get to the root of our trials. But when he looked at our initial results, his response was “Everything looks great, why aren’t you pregnant?” I don’t know. I am finally feeling like I am getting my health back on track. But even that has added to my gloom, as I finished all 8 weeks of a new program. I want to start over, but can’t seem to find the drive that kept my going the last 2 months. I just feel as though I am in a quagmire of melancholy. I fear getting stuck but the more I struggle, the more I stay in the same place.
I have been thinking about writing a post for a while. I wanted to reflect on the last year. How does time fly by so quickly? In the days following our loss of Lincoln, I thought about getting to this point and I couldn’t even begin to imagine it. My grief was all encompassing and suffocating. I was drowning in the need to hold my son, to see his face, to hear him cry. How was I ever going to live without him? But I have. I have dealt with a range of feelings; anguish, helplessness, despair, anger, disorientation. My anxiety almost overtook me for a long period of time. My own mortality slapped me in the face and I feared death at every corner. And not just mine but Kyle’s, my mom’s, anyone close to me. I dreaded going back to work but found that it helped me start to put one foot in front of the other. I became like a puzzle to solve. I worked to put the pieces of me back together and slowly my life as a bereaved mother started to take shape. I have found ways to cope with the depths of my feelings and started to be ok with the new me. I attend a local infant loss group, where I am with other bereaved parents and found a couple of online groups that have helped me to connect with others like me. The shittiness/amazing part of all this is that I am not alone. I am even part of a Facebook group to help with my health journey. We are all loss moms trying to get back to our pre-loss bodies. I have learned to laugh again and find joy in life. I still struggle a little with my faith, but I can pray now and seek out His strength. I just do it on my terms. I don’t have to be in church to feel Him. I am also a crusader for my son. I will never have funny stories to share about parenting Lincoln, instead I am his voice. I want him to be remembered and to be included in things we do. I beg for people to say his name, send me cards on his birthday, include him in holidays and celebrations. The more I hear his name, the more I feel him in my heart. So I guess through all of this, I have reached a good point. I am doing more than ok. I still have times of grief. I always will. I know my journey is not over; but I have reached a good resting place along the way. I am looking forward to the future now and am hopeful for what it has to bring.
I started writing this post several weeks ago. What was once the most wonderful time of year has now become my most dreaded months since we lost Lincoln. The commercials are everywhere reminding us that Christmas is a time for children. Last year when we enjoyed time with our families we dreamed of the chubby little 8 month old cherub that Lincoln would be. Instead I will be lighting a candle to represent his presence in our life. When we took family pictures I held an elephant instead of my baby.
Yesterday was rough. I woke up plagued by my “normal” what ifs. I was back in that moment, wondering what I could have done different. If there was someway I could have sensed Lincoln in distress. Some days I can shake these feelings off. I focus on how far I have come and though I won’t ever be the old me, I am finding the new me that I am ok with. Other days not so much. Today for example, Lincoln would have been 7 months old. My sweet little baby would be sprinting towards toddlerhood. We would have just had his first Halloween. I wonder about his costume. Instead he is in a small white plastic box. He did attend our annual neighborhood Trick or Treat party. I needed him to be there. I simply carried him in my pocket. And of course, the marketing campaigns have immediately thrown us into preparation for Christmas. Kyle and I felt bombarded by Christmas commercials while watching tv. We are still three weeks from Thanksgiving and we are inundated with thoughts of the most wonderful time of the year. I don’t know