Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Saying When -- or Not (edited)

Well. It's 5 months today since I went in to the big city hospital to say goodbye to my sons. I knew this month-i-versary was coming up, but it didn't occur to me until a few minutes ago.

As C noted in his recent post, our new normal is evolving, and I am starting to feel the ice thaw a bit. I have started (just barely) to do school work, and for the second day (woo) in a row I'm hacking away at the laundry threatening to take over our bedroom. I'm checking things off lists, and the squalor in which we have been living has started to become irritating to me -- I find myself cleaning and cursing the mess ("how can we live like this?"). So, I guess, I'm starting to awaken. The old me is starting to walk around in this new life. First shaky steps upon waking, inconsistent, but forward.

And so I find myself thinking about future child-bearing and child-raising. All at once I find myself incredulous that I could have even thought that I could be a parent, wanting a child with all my heart, scared to death that we might not have one and scared to death that we might.

It feels so odd to think that if all had gone according to plan (oh, I make me laugh) we'd be parents of twin boys right now, bleary-eyed from lack of sleepy, but likely celebrating every day with them. I can't even picture it. It seems like another life, another world. Even contemplating having one feels like some fantasy or a dream. Like, what were we thinking? Us? Parents? Come on. Welcome back to reality. Fucking reality.

And yet. Having had the tests that show my fertility (or lack thereof) is maintaining itself, at least in relation to the march of time across my ovaries, I have begun to think that maybe we could try again to have a living child. And here's the progress: It doesn't send me in to a panic every time I think about it. The idea of pregnancy? Well, yeah, there's a little flush, a little racing of the heart (all the problems getting pg, all the potential problems once we get pg, if we get pg). But there is also anticipation. Maybe we could get this after all. Maybe we could bring a child into the world, into our home.

The idea that we might not makes the pulse race, too. Or, like there's this huge lead balloon suddenly expanded in my chest. All the things that could go wrong in a future pregnancy, surviving another loss of this magnitude. It also leads me to those thoughts about "what were we thinking trying to have a child?"

My brain never stops. Endless cycle.

There are a number of deadbabymamas who recently have become pregnant, some who are trying, some who are waiting to try. Some still who don't know if that day will come at all, that day that they would try again and risk another loss. To be perfectly honest, I am so happy for the women who have conceived again. I really am, but, I feel something else I can't quite put my finger on. Part of it is awe for their bravery, part of it is recognition that I am not there yet, emotionally. Part of it is sad for me, because I want that excitement, too. Of course, I know that so-called excitement is fraught with fear of more loss and pain.

I have pulled back just a little, commenting less, taking time to reflect instead of speak, on these blogs. I hope you know that I wish you well, but I do need to figure out a way to manage conflicting thoughts and emotions** that come with it for me. I'm still there, reading, just quieter and, perhaps, from a slightly greater distance.

How do you know when it's time to try again? Is simply that your body has healed? Is there some sort of process -- emotional, psychological, something else -- that you've completed internally that tells you, yes, it's time? Or is it simply that you feel strong enough to balance the risk of loss with the potential joy a new life could bring?

I don't quite know how to think about this. Maybe I'm trying to structure it more than it needs. And, as my (and my husband's) healing progresses, the answers will make themselves known.

When we first knew we were losing the boys, both of them, I thought to myself, "Well, that's it. We're done. I can't do this again." Then, I couldn't wait to try again. Then, just the idea of trying made me panic. Now, usually it brings on varying levels of anxiety.

How did you know it was time to try for another child, a living child? How did you know it was time to stop? I'd love to hear your thoughts about these and the above questions.

** This is not to say I don't want comments from you -- I do. I'm only trying to say why I may have pulled back a bit.


Tash said...

I'm in the same place. I'm not really sure what I envy -- I think right now I just envy the decision making ability to say "alright, fuck it, let's do it." Because I don't have that. Sadly, I don't have the "aw, let's just let it go and go with this" pulse, either. I'm strangely afloat without a compass. And frankly, just reading about being pregnant again makes my blood pressure go up. I simply can't imagine.

Thinking of you. I'm so sorry for this day

G$ said...

I don't think there was even a moment when I realized I was ready. In fact, in the middle of peeing on an OPK stick, I thought to myself... wtf, where am I? Did all this really happen? Am I ready for this? I got really freaked out for a few days there thinking I was SO not ready.

Like you, I had the, no way I can do this again, to the I want to do again and NOW, to the hmm, when will I be ready again. Except in between I had a ton of medical crap that controlled it.

It wasn't until I went into the RE and thought I would be getting an IUI only to find out that my lining sucked, that I realized... well slap me silly, I really WANT to do this again. And FFS, nature is making me wait again.

Wait, what's my point? I dont know, I guess that there's no real end point in my head of when you are "ready." It's more like you're standing on the edge of the water, wondering how cold it is and a big wind comes in (or your RE who says, ok come in when your next period starts..) and pushes you in. Because if I waited to jump, the water would always seem too cold to me.

Now that I am here in the water, it is pretty effin cold though.

Thinking of you on this craptastic monthiversary. xo

Mrs. Spit said...

I"m not there. Some days I think I can be there, and then I think back to what happened, to being so frightened and powerless and out of control, and to the Doctor telling Mr. Spit that there was a good chance I would die, and I think, no, I'm not doing this again.

CLC said...

I change my mind about every five minutes. One minute I feel entirely too terrified to risk this again, and the next minute I think I need to keep on living and move forward with my life. I hate being stuck in this place of mourning. Not that I don't want to mourn my baby, but I just want to live again. And I feel like getting pregnant again will let me feel that way. But I am sure I will regret it the second I have a positive pregnancy test in front of me. So that leads me back to waiting some more. Stealing from G here, but I don't know when I will want to jump in. My husband might have to just push me.

Ya Chun said...

I set a "revisit this idea" date 6 months out from when we lost Serenity. I figured that I could evaluate my health and my emotions at that point and not worry about it too much in the intervening time.
I think, for you, the birthdate was a big marker for you. Maybe consider a time from that date to evaluate where you and C stand. Then you can have a little enjoyment in the mean time. Ya know, some boozin' and sushi and less stress.
I also think that I will have to not feel dread when I think of nine long months of morning sickness, queasiness, swollen legs, and laboring up steps. And I had an easy and enjoyable pregnancy, but it still involves vigilance, sacrifice and diligence, which are tiring.
I also have to be able to imagine myself being able to be really happy when carrying Serenity's little sibling. That baby deserves a happy mom.

Busted said...

I wish I could tell you how you know you're ready, but I have no idea if we will be ready as soon as we are planning to go forward with our FET. It just feels like a biological imperative that I have to keep moving forward, and I'm hoping my psyche is similarly convinced. So I guess we make plans, and then hope to test the waters and confirm we're ready when we get there. That's probably not helpful. I'm sorry.

I understand your pulling away from blogs too. I've found that I can still read and comment on blogs of people who were pregnant before our loss or who I "knew" before our loss, but when I stumble on a pregnancy blog now, even if it is a deadbabymama, I feel like I have nothing to say, and like I can't bear to read it. It sucks to feel like that.

Ann said...

My situation is a little different. I feel strange saying this, but the day after we got our deadly diagnosis, I was already thinking about how long I'd have to wait before trying again. It wasn't that I didn't mourn the loss of Zach; rather, I wanted to get back on track with "the plan" as soon as possible.

That said, the first few months of pregnancy were hard, emotionally. I didn't consider myself an inhabitant of "the land of the pregnant." I still resented baby bumps and pregnancy announcements. It wasn't until we found out for sure that what happened last time--a diagnosis of no kidneys--wouldn't happen again. And that wasn't until 15 weeks. Although I knew that other bad things could happen, my own personal demon, at least, had been exorcised.

I don't regret trying again so soon. This hope of a new baby has helped me more than anything else ever could.

luna said...

the answer will be different for everyone of course.

I feel like my readiness was very much affected by my infertility and age. I couldn't wait to try again, knowing it took me 1.5 yrs the first time and I was aging by the minute. I had to have surgery and recover before I was cleared to try again. I had hoped to keep my heart open with the hope of another child. but it didn't work...

of course you will have doubts about your readiness and possibly even anxious moments when you become pregnant again. that's normal. it';s so cliche but I think your heart will let you know when you're ready to try again -- you might just have to ask.

loribeth said...

I was sitting in my hospital bed after delivering my stillborn daughter, asking when I could try again. I knew I wanted to have a baby and, at 37 & having tried for 2.5 years prior to this pregnancy, I knew I didn't have time to lose.

I knew it was time to call it quits three years, several Clomid cycles, three IUIs with injectable drugs, several thousand dollars & several anxiety attacks later. I was a wreck, & when we looked at our chances in light of our advancing ages & our various physical problems (wonky ovulation, bicornuate uterus, MF, etc.), we knew the odds were not in our favour.

Everyone's threshold is different. I think you'll know when you're ready to try again. (((hugs)))

Becky said...

I found you thru Lost and Found.I am so very sorry for your loss! I have not experienced that so don't know how you feel, won't pretend to say I do.
I do know IF very well! 7 years of it, the pain of empty arms so, I can't imagine the depths of your loss!
I do however have a very dear, close friend who has known this loss. Her baby was just 5 months along. It was the most heartbreaking thing I've ever watched anyone go through. She now has a precious baby girl,who will never replace the one she lost but, who has filled her arms and heart.
I don't know how she knew she could try again. I do remember being at her hospital bed after she told her daughter good-bye, her telling me that she could never, ever do it again. And then, she did. I know her faith carried her.
I became a mom by adoption, that was God's ultimate plan for us.
I pray that your journey be filled with peace and assurrance that you will come out on the other side of it all!

Julia said...

You know, I must just be a very stubborn, and, possibly, stupid, girl. I knew we would try again. Partly because I just couldn't picture us not trying, partly because I knew how terribly Monkey longs for a living sibling. I knew it would be scary. Just not exactly how terrifying. I know I am lucky to be where I am now, and I wouldn't trade it. But I also didn't imagine how hard it would be to be here. Now that I know? I think the decision to try again again-- that one will be a lot harder.

Antigone said...

I've built up immunity. It's because each pregnancy progresses a little more than the one before. If I'd started out with a stillbirth, I think I'd have been hurt worse. Instead, I've been desensitized somewhat. Having dead babies fall out of me whole or in pieces is my normal.