Friday, May 25, 2018

time slows when you're losing babies

When I started this blog I was having babies in relatively quick succession. Those days were so full of chaos: beautiful, loud, quick moving chaos. Every day was like a whirlwind and at the end of a baby's first year I would wonder how on earth it went as fast as it did. And even though the days are still delightfully full of chaos, they are still loud and beautiful, I'm now finding myself in a different place.

Last July I got my first cycle back post-Freddie and started looking weird right away, but I chalked it up to breastfeeding and stress. Then November came and I miscarried. I weaned Fred hoping things would right themselves. Another early miscarriage and I began to see doctors and ask questions. I found some supplements recommended online, but no real answers and no real solutions, just month after month of not conceiving, but after 2 consecutive miscarriages, I was ok with not conceiving until we figured things out.

I don't need to spell it out (but I'm going to, because that's what bloggers do), but obviously you know where I'm going. I did not think that this last month's pregnancy test would be positive one bit, I wasn't even going to take one. I was running around trying to get the kids ready to go to the library, but I was feeling off, food wasn't sounding great, I was due to start that time of the month, so I grabbed one and took it really quick. I was about to throw the kids in to the car when I checked it and it was clearly positive. I could not run down the stairs fast enough to tell Mike, my heart was jumping out of my chest with excitement, and fear, and hope. I just didn't think we would lose babies 3 times in a row, so I prayed and I prayed and I feel like every moment I was breathing I was praying for the baby.

I canceled that library trip, threw on a movie for the kids and got into a doctor that day to have my hormone levels checked and hopefully get on progesterone right away. But too many nurses and other doctors who don't know my situation and a lot of un-returned phone calls meant things were entirely too delayed. (I have no idea if it would have made any difference, but I won't ever know)

The beauty of this experience is that, contrary to the days flying by when babies are coming and coming, when you know that at any minute you could no longer be pregnant with a child- when you've experienced all too frequently the precariousness of bringing forth new life- every moment slows down for you. I only had a few days with this little one where I *felt* so pregnant: that beautiful, bone-deep exhaustion that only comes from giving every ounce of your body for another person. I told myself to live each moment, and love each moment with this baby fully, and I truly did.

I will never forget those days where I knew and relished having new life within me: I was so happy to be so tired for this new person, I so full of gratitude for each one of my children and hoped so hard that I would get to tell them about this new sibling before we had to tell them they were already gone.
I let the girls bake a lemon pound cake the day we found out in honor of the baby- though we hadn't told them yet and they had no clue what it was for- I knew and I celebrated. I will never get to bake another cake for this baby and I am so glad that we did.

The day I woke up feeling like it was all slipping away I still kept hoping and praying, but I also knew somewhere in my head that I had had all my time with this one and it was ending. I am so glad I loved the moments I felt them growing inside of me. I am so glad I clung to every last hope that things were ok, I am so glad that I dove deep in rejoicing over this little one and loving every single moment even if it is making the grief that much fiercer- this person deserved no less for however long or short they were here.

These losses are so early, and I have had responses from several medical professionals (and people) to the effect of "oh that was just a blighted ovum, or just a chemical pregnancy", and so when it comes to my grief I've questioned what I am grieving. But my question in response to these attitudes is this: should I have not celebrated getting the positive pregnancy tests of my 5 live children until I was sure it wasn't "just a blighted ovum" or "just a chemical pregnancy"? No. Nobody knows what these little lives were that came and went so fast for me, nobody knows whether it was the neglect on the part of the doctor who dragged his feet in prescribing me progesterone shots (which he later said I needed). I have come to a point of confidence in grieving these children, because each one has taken a part of my heart with them that I will never get back, the same way my 5 beautiful living children had a part of my heart the moment I saw the 2 pink lines on their positive pregnancy tests.

The days following these losses are some of the longest and darkest days I've lived, but I have also never ever been so keenly aware of the total miracle that each one of these children are.

The kids named this little one James Casey, since we invoked and still invoke, the intersession of Blessed Solanus Casey to be able to conceive and for healing. Saint James and Blessed Solanus Casey, pray for us!

23 comments :

  1. God bless you and Mary hold you in her arms, Ana. What you wrote is so beautiful.

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  2. Your baby was lucky to have such a brave and loving mama. I’m sorry for your loss!

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  3. I am so sorry for your losses, friend.

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  4. I'm so sorry. I'm glad you got to celebrate the little one. ❤

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  5. Oh Ana! I am so, so sorry. What a gift that you were able to celebrate and love your child during his life. What a gift!

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  6. I’m so sorry for your losses. We have lost 14 babies that we know of. Progesterone and tsh play a role for me. Prayers for your mama heart.

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    1. I am so so sorry for your losses, Amy- I will be seeing a NaPro doc soon to hopefully get some real answers- it's such a hard thing.

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  7. I am so sorry for your loss. More than 20 years later, I still mourn my 3 lost little ones. I offered a Memorare for peace in your heart.

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  8. Oh, I am so sorry for your losses. I fear this so desperately going forward. My prayers are with you dear.

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  9. I am so sorry for your losses. This was beautifully written. We are in the same boat with 3 losses and no known cause. It is definitely difficult for those who have never experienced a loss to understand the grief. I know I was once naive myself. I will pray for you and your family!

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  10. Jonathan Shay, the noted psychiatrist who works with war veterans, defines moral injury as:"(a) a betrayal of “what’s right”; (b) either by a person in legitimate authority, or by one’s self—“I did it” (Litz, Maguen, Nash, et al.); (c) in a high stakes situation." When I miscarried Isadore, my first pregnancy, I experienced a lack of care that was a direct result of a doctor simply not reading my chart (not noticing my hypothyroidism was preexisting). This was after years of infertility that should have been easily diagnosed by information my doctors had. I am so sorry for your loss and I sincerely hope you are able to find better care providers. Also, I did progesterone cream so that I could control it myself. All the moms, dads, and babies deserve better. Beautiful post.

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    1. Thank you, Beth- the feelings of betrayal by the doctor that I have are real- I will not be going back to him and will be heading to a new practice to hopefully receive better care.

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  11. Ana - I'm so very sorry for your losses. You are so right to celebrate and to mourn the loss of these babies. I pray for peace and consolation for you and Mike, and an answer for what's happening.

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  12. Hi Anna, I’m a long term reader and wanted to finally comment to say thank you for sharing your heart. I am so sorry for your losses. I wonder if the medical team you are working with is familiar with taking progesterone during conception cycle. This would be started shortly after ovulation until a positive pregnancy test. Like you said it’s hard to know whether or not earlier supplementation would have been helpful. The doctors I work with who know NaPro or Restorative reproductive medicine are experts in recurrent miscarriage. There are many treatments prior to conception other than progesterone. Will be praying for you.

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    1. Thank you so much Jamey- I will be going to a new NaPro doctor soon and will not be going back to that other doctor for On/Gyn care- I at least feel some hope in that.

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  13. Lots of prayers for you! I am so sorry for the crosses you’re enduring with the loss of your 3 children, but your openness to life even with the pain, has brought 3 immortal souls who are loved by you and God for all eternity.

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  14. Oh Ana, I'm so sorry for your losses, and for the heartache that accompanies them!

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  15. I am so so sorry for the losses of each little one. I have never suffered a miscarriage, but I had to have a hysterectomy when I was just 38. Four years later and I still grieve the little ones that could have been. Love and prayers for you, your husband and you family.

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  16. I'm so sorry for your loss. I had trouble conceiving the first time and had contacted a NaPro doctor. In the day or two I waited for her to get back to me, I found out I was pregnant. She suggested getting my progesterone levels checked since we weren't avoiding pregnancy and it took us so long to conceive. I had to FIGHT to get the test with my regular doctor. "We only test if there's a history," is what I was told. So they let the mother go through the devastation of a loss before they change care for the next time, if there is a next time? I finally was loud enough that my doctor's office agrees to test me and sure enough my levels were low. They put me on progesterone supplements and I have healthy (spontaneous) twins today, thank God. I also had a myopic pregnancy when the twins were 2 :( pray for your healing - physically and spiritually - and for the medical support you need. I also pray every day, like Mary, can say to God, "Thy will be done." So hard to swallow sometimes, but I pray it to remind myself sometimes we just won't understand His ways while we're on this earth. Sending prayers!!

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  17. Oh Ana, I am so sorry. Praying you find some answers.❤

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  18. I am so, so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute you wrote. I cried at "the only cake you'll bake for him"...wow.

    We lost our little Ignatius Allen at 4 weeks 5 days and the grief was just as real as if he had lived longer. We will always remember him and can't wait to meet him in heaven. I know he prays for us and his siblings until then.

    Glad to hear you're seeing Napro. For our two living children, I had to be on HCG injections to raise my progesterone halfway through each cycle because it would be too late to get on progesterone by the time I get positives (my levels are so low). You will be in good hands with Napro.

    Hugs in the meantime as you grieve your precious James Casey. <3

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  19. Such a hard cross! We lost three in a row after two healthy uneventful pregnancies. A wonderful NaPro doctor figured out it was a progesterone deficiency and we’ve gone on to have three more without any losses-praise God! Throwing up a Hail Mary that you can get to the root of your losses and that He will bless you with more surviving children!

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