Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ten Weeks Not

First off, I want to thank everyone who has taken the time and showed so much heart in sharing their stories and opinions. I take it all to heart. J~ and I read and discuss your comments together. It helps. It really does.

The other day I ran into a woman I know, an acquaintance who also happens to be a doctor. I took a deep breath and stopped her to ask if she knew an RE she could recommend who specializes in miscarriage. She didn't even know what an RE was, but of course asked many questions, and before I knew it I'd stumbled into that conversational cul-de-sac I have come to truly hate.  

Have you considered adoption?

Why must everyone ask this? It's part of why I find it so difficult to seek answers and support. Do people honestly think I haven't thought of that? Don't they realize that what they're saying, on some level, is, Have you considered giving up? 

You wouldn't ask an overweight neighbor, Why don't you just go on a diet? If someone stopped you on the street to ask for directions to Joe's Restaurant, you wouldn't say, Have you considered going to John's Restaurant instead? even thoughthe food at Joe's is greasy and over-priced. Wouldn't that be considered rude? Why is this different?

Okay, okay, I'm venting. I know people care and are just trying to understand. My anger isn't with this individual, or with anyone else who broaches the subject. It's just way too flip of a question about way too tricky a subject, and I hate how little sensitivity is built into our societal consciousness. It hits a very raw nerve. Perhaps it would be better if I just got angry in the moment, but instead I take on the role of educator, ambassador for all of us in this hidden realm of pregnancy loss. I make the mistake of answering with depth and feeling. I bare my soul. I told this woman, If my husband and I were ten years younger, if he didn't already have a child, I bet would be looking into adoption. If someone left a baby at our doorstep, or if J~ was saying he wanted to adopt, I'd probably be thrilled. I'd be nervous and I'd have to think about it, but I'd be thrilled. But this is not where we're at.

She was still looking at me with puzzlement and concern, so I went on to talk about the teenage abortion I never wanted to have, my fear ever since that I'd never get to have children. And just when I was about to admit that, at this point, after this many failures, I feel like I want the experience of a healthy pregnancy more than I want the child, I deflected her questioning expression by bringing the subject back around to my quest for help, to my fear of asking. To how much courage it took for me to stop her in passing and ask these revealing questions in the first place, let alone call up strangers on the phone. Because, let's face it, I've been wanting good medical support for a long time and have felt completely overwhelmed and discouraged about seeking it out.

And then she gave me some really good, simple advice. She suggested I let myself have my emotions but keep that separate from the work at hand. Make a list of tasks and do what you need to do

So I did. I sat down with J~ and went over his work schedule. I made some calls. And I made two appointments at times when he is free to come along, one with each of the major fertility clinics in the state. (I can't go out of state without paying out of pocket, so this is where I'll start.) Of course neither clinic wants to see me until I'm no longer pregnant, so both appointments are in July. Hopefully by then I'll be a clean slate, so to speak. Hopefully I won't be writing again next week at "Eleven Weeks Not."

At least for the time being, I'd like my body back.


Just me said...

I also hate that question. For a number of reasons. One being that it implies that adoption is this quick cure. Guess what? There is lots of money and paperwork and work and potential HEARTBREAK in adoption too.

Plus, as Mrs. R so eloquently explained on her blog, adoption may be a "cure" to childlessness, but it is NOT a cure for infertility.

So I, possibly along with you, would thank all of those "well meaning" fertile people to shut up, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

I want to acknowledge how much courage and strength it takes to persevere when you reach out and get a disappointing response. Feeling hurt or frustrated when you get the adoption question, or when a medical professional has never heard of a well-known medical specialty is totally legitimate. Taking a breath and continuing to reach out and find the support you need is hard, but it's the only way to get what you need. Good luck!

Ellen said...

My cousin asked me that same question after one of my many miscarriages and, because of her own path to parenthood, I didn't have the luxury of getting angry (which I would have, believe me!). She only got pregnant once but, after her miscarriage, found out she was experiencing early menopause (she was in her early 30s). They tried everything including implanting a family member's eggs but no baby. After exhausting ALL of their options they turned to adoption. Their son is now 12 and she sees her struggles to conceive as part of a grand scheme to unite their family. She said something that made me really sit up and reassess my own direction. "What is your goal? Is it to carry a full-term pregnancy or to be a mother?" Although somewhat harsh it caused me to really think about the answer. I

While I am certain you and J will do what is best for you and your family in the long run it might not be a bad idea to broaden the scope of the journey. It doesn't mean you're giving up - just giving yourself more options to consider. I hope you get some answers soon!

Panamahat said...

Oh man the 'have you considered adoption?' question. I HATE it. If I have got this far, of course I have CONSIDERED it. That doesn't mean I want to CHOOSE it, and my reasons are my own and I don't have to justify them to anyone (though for people here, I will say that they include the large potential for emotional heartache that I'm not willing to risk).

Have those 'well meaning people' considered NOT STICKING THEIR OAR IN?

I too, have tried gently to educate the well wishers, of my long and sorry recurrent pregnancy loss, and what we have tried, and what we are willing to try next, and what we are not willing to consider. It peeves me when most of them don't want to accept that I have accepted I may not be a parent, and they go ahead and judge me for 'not trying hard enough' because I'm not trying all the options they are presenting.

Well, excuse me, but if you'd like to walk in MY shoes for seven years, then I'll be quite happy to hear you out. As it is, I'M the one with the suffering, and YOU are the one on the cosy sidelines throwing me what you think is a bone.

Well-wishers, I do not need your advice, your opinion on my medical condition or your judgement/criticism of my choices. Zip it. If you would SINCERELY like to offer me help and support, then all you need to say is "Gee, you really have had a rough time of it, I am so sorry. I really have no idea what it must be like for you. I'm always hear to listen if you need to vent"

Why is that SO difficult to do?

LOL. Looks like you pushed my button there!

By the way - I am so sorry you are having such a difficult time of it, and I AM here to listen anytime you want to vent!! xx

Mel @ ThePreconceptionist said...

Excuse me if this is an ignorant question, but is it certain that you will miscarry? I don't remember reading what exactly is wrong with this pregnancy other than low HCG levels. I know low HCG isn't good, but it isn't 100% predictive of a bad outcome, right? I hope I haven't stuck my oar where it doesn't belong.

Anonymous said...

oh girl. i hated that question too, and i was open to adoption. of course, the 10's of thousands in fees, the wait, the exposing yourself to social workers. . . i shied away from. they don't put mediocre parents through such screening but let them walk out of the hospital after having a baby.

i saw many RE's, and even in a medical research facility. when i went to see the RE, each time, i was told to try IVF. um, with 7 m/c's under my belt, i was looking for m/c specialist. of the two name brand universities i went to, the "specialist" was marginal. (you're not in my state, so no worries for you to get these people.) so when the last RE told me getting pregnant was worth something, that was a relief and information i needed to hear.
i had tried: blood thinners, baby aspirin, hormones, supplements, husband and me tested for everything - physical issues, sperm tests, genetic tests. all normal. in between i had d/c's and natural m/c's.

the best part of trying those extra things is to know that i TRIED and thought about them. then i'd move on. now i know what i'm comfortable with or not. i did not try IVF for the reasons that i did get pregnant.

as for the next suggestion - donor something or another. i'm a bit squeamish about that, but i know friends who used donors (eggs, sperm, or both) and they are happy, normal families.

ultimately, we got so lucky. once pregnant, i told my dr. that i really needed support, nothing extreme. (nurturing, emotional support is one of the best "therapies" for recurrent m/c's.) so that's what i got. i switched from the super large research clinic back to a regular ob after the first few weeks. u/s every month. no blood tests after the first 2 hcgs (she said the anxiety waiting was worse for women than the test, so she'd use u/s.) freedom to call and make next day appts. i hardly did, except when i caught what i thought was h1n1.

i think being open with people, shows strength in itself. had i known what i know now? i may not have been so private about my m/c's. when i finally started telling my friends, yes, i got plenty of "adoption", "donor" and "just relax" remarks. but i also had friends offer sympathy and support too. if people can just listen, that helps a lot. the questions, no matter how odd or personal, actually were good. they made me think, and even the thoughtless questions were never truly malicious.

the very worst comment ever? on gal said "you have to really want children to have them." !!! i shed tears over that, and later, the husband of the gal was apologetic. he said she was clueless and he talked to her, even before knowing my personal health history!

Mel @ The Preconceptionist said...

I have one more interjection to offer here. I can totally relate to wanting to experience what it's like to carry a pregnancy to term. After working in an environment where you're exposed to pregnancy this and that on a daily basis, you want to experience it instead of just understanding it intellectually.

Jhene said...

Hi Amy,

Thanks so much for bringing attention to the topic of miscarriage. I am so sorry for your loss. After my own experiences I needed to believe that the world was different in a positive way because of the losses. I was driven to create something that would not have existed had I not miscarried. A filmmaker by trade, what resulted is a ten-minute short film The House I Keep, about a woman who struggles to come to terms with the loss of her baby through miscarriage. A relentless war between her internal and external life has plagued her recovery until she stumbles upon a curious symbol of hope that helps lead her back to peace.

After screenings of The House I Keep, I have been overwhelmed by the heartbreaking stories of miscarriage that women have felt compelled to share. These gatherings became transformative. Discussing the film has provided an 'appropriate’ place to share their own stories. Their silence was broken and isolation bridged. My mission for the film is to improve the mental health of women and their families mourning miscarriage by providing an identifiable voice through the film. The film is a platform for discussion and understanding, and hence, an impetus for healing.

With the film now complete, and ready to premiere in 2011, we are doing everything we can to raise awareness about the topic of miscarriage and our film. Please visit our website at for more detailed information about the film. If you like what you see, please join us on facebook at Anything you can do to help us spread the word is, of course, very much appreciated!

Very best,
Jhene Erwin
Producer/Co-Director/Writer – The House I Keep