I came across a brilliant article this week. It popped up randomly in my Twitter feed, and the tweet was enticing enough for me to link through. How to give comfort?, it asked. Yes, pray tell, because many individuals don’t know how to give comfort to women experiencing infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss. I think this piece is especially timely given the proximity to National Infertility Awareness Week. Many of us have linked to the popular article on infertility etiquette from Resolve. I think this article, both succinct and clear, offers an additional resource to pass along to others.
Here’s the premise, the person or persons in crisis are at the center of the circle, in the inner-most ring. In my case, this was just me, Big Guy was in the next ring. You decide who gets placed into what ring, but you are always in the center. Individuals in each ring are placed there based on their proximity to the trauma. You decide the information they receive. You have the choice to provide information as you see fit because the crisis is yours. You get to share what you want, and you get to express your pain, frustration and grief in any way that you choose to anyone in any ring. In short, you get to “dump out” to anyone in any ring. The same came be said for those in the next ring, and so one. You get to dump out to anyone in a ring that is further away from the center as yours. Period.
With that said, those that are in a more distant ring can only send comfort inward. They don’t get to tell the person in the center how they would handle the crisis. There are no “just relax” or “just adopt” comments, no “buck up, champ” punches to the shoulder, no critiques, no harassment or judgments. Only comfort. This principle is brilliant in its simplicity.
As I mentioned earlier, Big Guy was in the second ring, and I was in the center. Without fail, I dumped out to him, and he only offered comfort in. I’m really fortunate to have such a kind, compassionate and understanding partner. The same can be said for our friends and family. We are blessed, indeed. Comfort in, dump out!
I noticed some blood when I wiped last night. It was faint and barely visible on the toilet paper. I saw more this morning, and it was enough to make it to my underwear. A quarter sized dollop of pink tinted vaginal/cervical fluid. Cue anxiety attack.
I called my doctor’s office right at 8:45 when they opened. The receptionist was very kind and gave me the rote response saved for panicky women who are barely spotting without any cramping. I heard none of it. I started crying. I told her that I was a infertility patient. I told her that I had two miscarriages in the past nine months. This got me a direct line with the nurse who was kind enough to schedule an ultrasound in just two short hours.
The ultrasound went well. The babe’s heart rate was at 166 BPM, and was measuring 49 mm well ahead of its 10 weeks and 6 days. The baby has fingers, toes, a heart, a spine. The baby even has a cute nose. It may be my nose, which is a bit of a tragedy, but I’ll love it and kiss it anyway. All parts are accounted for and trucking away. This did not stop the crying. The nurse was very, very nice, and it became clear that this was an effort to appease the hysterical infertile woman. I don’t care. It worked. I’m appeased.
So, what caused the spotting? I ran out of my progesterone in oil on Saturday. I had meant to call in a refill, but I didn’t catch them while they were open. So, I missed two doses. The medicine came this morning, and I promptly opened up the box and shot myself in the ass. I’m going to double dose on the PIO for today, and hope this light, light spotting goes away. It’s freaking me the fuck out!
Miscarriage PTSD* sucks.
*On the off chance that any of my readers are struggling with PTSD or know of individuals with PTSD, let me be clear that I do not think I have PTSD as defined by the DSM, nor do I want to make light of the condition. I do think that I have residual grief and trauma to work through regarding my two miscarriages, and I am easily triggered. However, I do believe this pales in comparison to what those with PTSD suffer through.
Today, I find myself at nine weeks. That is one day longer that my first pregnancy which ended so abruptly and tragically on the table, with my feet in stirrups, and a wand in my vagina. I have my last ultrasound with my RE tomorrow at 3 pm, and I am hoping, praying, wishing, yearning, longing that everything will be okay. That the baby will measure at about an inch or so, the heartbeat will be in the upper 100′s, that the yolk sac will be small, small, small. These are the things I hope for before an ultrasound.
On the other hand, apparently, there is a movement afoot to celebrate the ultrasound. To treat it as a party centerpiece. I can’t even imagine. Have these people never faced tragedy? Grief? Pain? They must think that all pregnancies end in childbirth and a beautiful baby. I suppose that most do, really. Here on the other side of the statistic, where pain and grief are more common than parties and celebration, to think such a thing is outlandish. The hubris. The arrogance. Unbelievable, really.
Going in to this final ultrasound, I’m convinced that it will end poorly. I call this ultrasound PTSD. That damn wand rarely brings good news. Why would I be so lucky this time? The statistics tell me that the there is a good chance that I won’t be lucky. That this won’t be it. I guess I won’t know until tomorrow, and until tomorrow I will wait. I will wait to hear about our future, and about the life path we will be on.
Know this: I am not celebrating. I will not be Skyping the ultrasound with my nearest and dearest. I will not be wearing a party hat and singing with joy and exaltation. Instead, I will be shaking with fear and anxiety. I will be clutching Big Guy’s hand with trepidation and longing. This is the ultrasound of an infertile and a miscarrier. It isn’t a party.
Because I am a masochist, I took another test. The bottom three are from this fateful morning. From top to bottom we have FMU, second pee, and third pee. The bottom test is my favorite. I stared at it as I took a shower to purge myself of all my anxiety and grief.
You guys are amazing. Thanks for your support. I really, really appreciate it, and I love when I can stick to my google ban and still get reliable and reassuring information. I loved reading about the hook effect, and I loved reading all of your reassuring words. I am feeling better albeit a bit emotionally shaky and vulnerable. I love you all.
Also, I am hosting a small giveaway of, you guessed it, 25 Wondflo pregnancy tests. For good measure, I will also throw in two Accuclear pregnancy tests that came with my last batch of OPKs. I’m going to the post office this afternoon so the first person that requests them in the comments gets them. I will contact you via email for your address.
Again, thank you, and my apologies for the terrible, terrible scare. I’m reinstating Operation Distraction.
Sometimes it hurts so much that there just aren’t any words.