Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November 8

I have sat down many times in the last several months trying to come up with a new post. I either haven't had much to say, or the things I could say are not organized enough. So just a little update will do.
Doug and I still miss Donovan. Everyday I still wish he was living in my house with me and I wish we had celebrated a "real" 2nd birthday last week. We have a good life here; we have good friends, good family, good jobs, good house, fun pet. We really try not to complain too much and enjoy the good parts of our life.
Today was my 3rd due date that came and went with no baby. Our second miscarriage (3rd pregnancy loss) occurred in April. In keeping with the original purpose of this blog, I'll now do a quick FAQ of the things people have started asking me about:

Q. What are the doctors telling you?
A. Not much. In my province, the "rule" in healthcare is that you have to have 3 losses before you get referred to specialists, and before they'll do any investigating into what is causing the losses. Even though the way we lost Donovan was not a miscarriage, it still just counted as 1 of the 3 required losses before I could get some extra medical help. So it was only this past April when I could finally "qualify" to see the doctors who specialize in this. They all have big waiting lists. I am now on them.

Q. What do you think of the "3 losses before we help you" rule?
A. #$&*#%#!!!!!!!!!!!! It's crap.

Q. What have you been doing in the meantime?
A. While waiting on these lists I've been seeing a Naturopathic doctor. This has been a life changing experience. Plus, they have no waiting lists, and their solution for everything isn't "take drugs." I am learning how to balance natural medicine as well as mainstream healthcare, and understand the benefits and shortcomings of both systems.

Q. Would you consider adoption?
A.  I'm not sure and will give it more thought later, if necessary. 

Q. Do you think your pregnancies were too close together?
A. No. Although it sounds crazy to say I've been pregnant 3 times in 2 years, all of my pregnancies were spaced at least 8 months apart, which is 7 months more than the doctors told me to wait. They all agreed that there is no benefit to waiting more than a month after a loss to conceive again.

Those are some of the things people have been asking me about. I wish I had a different story to tell today, one of backache and stretch marks and swollen feet. There might be a new story around the corner for me, when I can get some answers from the medical people...but maybe not. Chronic miscarriage (yes I now qualify as "chronic") is very mysterious, many people never get answers to why it's happening to them.

Thank you to everyone who remembered my son last week on his birthday, November 3. Happy Birthday son, I love you.
Happy supposed-to-be-birthday to baby#3. You were going to be the best birthday present ever for your Daddy. This will still be our special day to remember you.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Discussion about Miscarriage

I'm very baffled by something and I'm wondering if anyone else is confused too. Where did the custom of keeping pregnancies a secret for 12 weeks originate? What's the purpose? I've given this a lot of thought, and here is what I've come up with:

Possible reasons for keeping it a secret:
1. In case you lose the baby, you don't have to have the conversation over and over, telling everyone that you are no longer pregnant.
2. One in 4 or 5 pregnancies doesn't make it past 12 weeks, so maybe by keeping it a secret you avoid getting your "hopes up" too early. It seems to be believed that a person who miscarries suffers less if they tried to ignore the pregnancy and tried to keep their "hopes" down. (what's the opposite of "hopes up"?)
3. Ummmm....that's all I can think of.

Things that seem weird about keeping it a secret:
1. It's usually very exciting! Both times I found out I was pregnant, I was totally elated. I wanted so badly to call my family and friends and share that excitement. What hidden pressure prevented me from doing that? Who cares if I was only 5 weeks pregnant?
2. We often feel like total garbage in the first trimester. It seems like such a ridiculous expectation to keep this huge exciting secret, yet throw up at work all morning and nap at our desks. I remember inventing a back injury so I wouldn't have to help unload heavy donations at work. Why do we let pregnancy turn us into giant liars?
3. So, let's say you do lose the baby. Is this something you really want to deal with privately too? Or do we feel like we should?
4. The last weird thing that I have discovered is...even though I did miscarry last June, I missed out on sharing the good part! Those 10 weeks were overflowing with hope and joy. Remind me again why we stifle this and try to conceal something so wonderful?

The truth is, it is different for everyone. I believe that some people would want to handle it privately if they were to experience pregnancy loss. For me, it was unbelievably painful and terrifying. Who was I protecting by trying to pretend I hadn't just experienced something so devastating?

I might even venture to guess that the custom of keeping miscarriage and early pregnancy a secret might be rooted in the attitude that "women's issues" are taboo and gross. "Don't you go botherin' the menfolk with yer woman problems."
I'm just speculating.

Would it be too sad for the world if we had to support and grieve with each other for every 1 in 4 or 5 pregnancies lost? Or maybe because it is so common, it's not worth making a big deal over. It really is a mixed message: "Don't worry, it's very common, you're not alone. Oh but don't talk about it though."

I admit that I did not have this attitude 2 years ago, I would be surprised when people told me that they were 6 weeks pregnant, and I'd wonder why they were telling people so early. But life has a way of teaching me things and making me less judgemental as I grow up : )

So the real point of my rambling is this: Each person should get to do what she really truly wants to do. If you want to share the entire journey of your pregnancy with the world, good for you, I hope you do so freely. If you want to keep it to yourself and have a fun secret from the world for as long as you want, also good for you. I just deeply wish for us all to do what we really want to, instead of letting obligation or tradition make the decision.
Keep the secret if it protects you. But don't keep it to protect anyone else.