The Lonely Womb

Living and Learning through Loss

Tag: miscarriage blog

The Hope has gone missing from my Hope Chest

This has been a tough week in the Caldwell household (actually, the last few months have been exceptionally challenging but that is for a different post).  This week I found myself plagued by the depression I have fought for as long as I can remember.

Depression for me can be triggered by a number of things and sometimes I don’t know what the trigger is or was at all.  What I do know is once I am depressed I will think even more about my infertility than ever which brings me to the hopeless chest.

When I was young child I couldn’t wait to have a hope chest all my own and always wanted to play with the items in my mom’s hope chest.  She had stuff from when she first dated my dad and when they got married.  Odd trinkets and a bunch of baby items from when I was born.  It was like a living scrapbook of memories.  I loved going through it and hearing the stories my mom would tell me about each item.  Fast forward to my 18th birthday and I finally got my very own hope chest.  I didn’t have a ton of things to put in it at that point but was excited to fill it full of the dreams I had for myself.  At first it was filled with things I was planning on taking to college with me like my first set of dishes.  Honestly, I don’t actually remember all of the things I kept in it early on or even when my husband and I finally had a place of our own that was big enough for me to not be storing the chest at my parents.

What I do remember is what I began to store in it when we decided to start a family.  Before we ever began trying I put some items from my childhood that I wanted to pass down to my child.  I had the dishes I used as a little kid.  If you grew up in the 70’s you probably remember the Peter Rabbit set.  vintage-peter-rabbit-in-the-garden-plate-bowl-silite-plastic-kid-s-dishes-094face17b39e8cd95d2ad12e2a09be3Some sentimental stuffed animals to be passed down and some artwork that I had kept that I wanted in a future nursery.  snoopy-sno-cone-machine-1My husband had even bought me an old school Snoopy Snow Cone maker identical to the one I had as a kid and I promptly added to the hope chest for our little to have those same snow cone memories.

The Hope chest didn’t have much in it until we got pregnant the first time around.  Of course with the excitement we couldn’t resist buying some baby clothes and a few cute things for a nursery.  After that first miscarriage there haven been a small handful of items we have added to the chest for fear of adding to the sadness or bad luck.  What it does hold are cute clothes and blankets, books from friends and a few adorable toys.  Oh! and a hoard of “I love grandma” onesies that my mother-in-law added to our collection.

There are also some baby gifts that friends sent to me AFTER my miscarriage (yes they knew of my loss before sending).  Now, I know that none of this was done out of malice but boy were they hard to get.  If you are reading this as one of my friends please note that was lone ago and I’m sure you didn’t understand that was a really hard thing to receive at the time.  Could I have said something, sure but why make them feel bad about an ill-timed gift.  While this post isn’t about that I did want to take a moment to remind anyone out there to that it is much harder to get these gifts as the hopeful “I know you will use this when you get pregnant again” rather than you just storing them until that appropriate time.  Same goes for those handmade gifts that people started for us and would mention as a type of guilt like “hey, I started a quilt for you back then so hurry up and get pregnant already so I can give it to you”.  Um, I’m trying but thanks for all of that support and sorry to keep YOU waiting.

Back to the Hopeless Chest… So, this beautiful chest sits at the foot of our bed and normally is just a piece of furniture.  Other times like this past week it haunts me and tempts me to delve into it and cry over the baby goods inside.  I will be honest, the picture of the items is actually an older pic taken long ago as I decided this week was not a healthy time to open the chest at all.  But, all week I kept thinking about it as the hopeless chest.  Mostly, because that was the feeling my depression brought on this week.  Usually, it is a dark sad depression that is dripping with sarcasm and anger.  This week it was hopeless hopeless hopeless.  Full of poor me and I’ll never have a baby thoughts and hopelessness for our current situation.

Currently, I am feeling much better and I would have written this post earlier had I had the energy to do so.  I am hoping by putting these feelings and dealing with depression on top of infertility will help someone out there who feels similar.  As usual, feel free to contact me or leave a comment.  I would love to hear how you deal with your depression and infertility too.  If you are seeking additional support or resources you can find some here.

Blessings, Lara

The Infertility Tango

I want to talk about what infertility and this journey has done to my marriage.  Now, don’t let the title fool you as my husband isn’t about to actually dance the Tango but the title made me smile so there you have it.

I can honestly say that I feel truly blessed with my husband, best friend, lover and forever partner.  I know that not all marriages survive fertility and Kevin and I have been very lucky that this hike we have been on has made us stronger.  We haven’t gone unscathed and it has been work to survive everything we have been through but we are still here and we haven’t left the dance yet.

When we went through our first miscarriage it came as a complete shock to both of us.  We both cried, we held each other and as everyone told us it was completely normal to lose your first pregnancy we didn’t lose faith in having a baby.  I remember actually feeling lucky at the time to have suffered a early miscarriage.  I have a couple of very dear friends who each have suffered through a still birth and I can’t fathom surviving that and going on as they have.

After our second miscarriage I remember the fear starting to creep in.  Not just the fear of will we be able to have a baby and is this my fault but will my husband leave me if we can’t.  I remember telling my mom this later after probably our 3rd miscarriage.  She was angry with me and couldn’t believe I would ever think something like this.  Honestly, I didn’t have any reason to really think this other than so many movies that depict the man leaving the barren woman for someone who could give him the offspring he so desired.  My fear also came from knowing that my husband had wanted a child long before I was ready.  Insert guilt for why did I make him wait so long and maybe if we had tried when we were younger we would have a son or daughter running around the house right now.  I wanted to wait until we were ready, more stable blah blah blah.  I am a planner so it is hard not to overthink something as epic as bringing a new life into this world.  I certainly wish others put a bit more thought into if before they did but that is for a whole other blog post of the future.

I don’t recall if it were our 3rd or 4th miscarriage but I remember Kevin telling me he wasn’t sure he could go through this much longer.  At the time I wasn’t all too understanding as physically going through a miscarriage is no piece of cake and I was going through the mental aspects as well.  Anyhow, after my own grief settled some more I did understand that this was hurting him terribly too.  I later realized much of my reaction to him saying this and other things of a similar nature was a defensive reaction.  I still feel this way a bit.  I think if he were to come in today and say “I don’t want to try any more” and just want to be done with it then I would feel he was giving up on me just as much as giving up on having a child.  Now, this decision might happen eventually anyway but I hope it happens out of us discussing it and deciding together.

Anyhow, back to the whole marriage aspect.  Kevin hasn’t left me for some spry young woman to make babies with.  In fact, going through this together has made us much stronger as a couple.  I honestly believe if you can’t survive infertility than you probably wouldn’t survive raising children together either.  I think the latter has to be a much more difficult task.  Now, has our spontaneity and intimacy suffered, Absolutely!  For us this has suffered in two ways.  At first it was all of the counting days, ovulation tests, scheduling “tater time” that hurt our spontaneity.  The Intimacy I think suffered more when it became frightening to get pregnant by accident.  It is an odd thing to be terrified of getting pregnant when you aren’t a teenager and it is just the simple fact that you don’t want to go through another loss.

While we still need to recover our intimacy and spontaneity there are some things that I think we have done well that might help someone else going through this now.  I don’t claim to be an expert, these are just observations of what has worked to keep Kevin and I strong.

1.) Be there for each other.  There is no room for blame if you want your marriage to stay strong.  Chances are your partner may already blame themselves so they don’t need that from their spouse.  Listen to one another and find out what you can do to support your partner during this time.  Lift each other up and don’t stop doing things that you love together.  Be respectful of your spouse’s feelings with wherever you are in your journey.  They may need to take a step back or sometimes they might be ready to go full speed ahead and you want to cool the jets a bit.  Talk about these things.

2.) If depression, desolation or desperation start to impact you or your spouse it may be time to get some help.  This doesn’t have to be “professional” help.  Talk to a friend who is or has gone through infertility.  Seek out a blog that “speaks” to you.  Check out some of the many online resources out there.  Join a Facebook group.  Anything.  Infertility can be such a crushing blow to us it is important not to let it get the better of you.

3.) Talk about the “What ifs”.  I know, I know.  Taboo, run away don’t listen to her.  But, I think it is healthy to discuss what your life might look like without children.  Or, perhaps discussing if either of you wants to foster or adopt.  This is something we didn’t do until a bit later in our process and we still have new discussions the further we go on this journey.  I’ve known some people who have even made dramatic plans for the end of their baby making journey.  I heard one woman say that when she turned 45, if they hadn’t been successful they were going to sell all of their stuff and move to Europe and travel.

4.)  Take care of yourself.  Whatever this means.  Get a massage.  Start a new hobby.  Pick up an old hobby.  Volunteer somewhere.  Go back to school.  Plan a dream vacation (alone or with your spouse or maybe with a great friend).  Start doing meditation (this is one of the things I have been doing lately).  Exercise.  Eat well and if some idiot tells you “if you stop thinking about it, you’ll get pregnant” then eat the piece of chocolate or drink the glass of wine.  😉  We have to take care of ourselves so we can be there for our spouse and help take care of them.  I think we all seem to cycle through one of us being down so it helps to have those “up” times so you can pick them up off the floor or vice versa.

5.)  You do not have to listen to the village idiot, or your friend who just got pregnant, or your family, or a coworker who is being nosy.  If you have been going through infertility long and you have shared it with anyone you will know that advice and mostly unsolicited advice comes often and from just about everyone.  So, I repeat “you do not have to listen”.  Now, you may want to punch them in the throat, don’t do that either.  But, you can kindly smile and say thank you or tell them you aren’t in a space to talk about it or whatever you want.  But, it is your infertility, your journey, your struggle.  You don’t have to listen to me either but I assume if you are reading this that you came to my blog and it didn’t just pop up to give you advice.

Wow, I am so sorry that was such a long winded one.  Hugs to you and thank you again for reading this.  If you ever want to contact me you can do so here and I have been doing my best to reply to all comments (pretty easy now as there aren’t that many but I am trying to think positive to there being so many I can’t possibly keep up).

Blessings, Lara

Taters

As I was brushing my teeth this morning and trying to decide which topic to write about this week I was thinking about the unique language my husband and I have developed over the past 21+ years together.  Those nicknames we call each other, terms for random objects that nobody else would possibly understand and you should hear us talk to our fur babies.  I will admit, I am most guilty of this and Kevin has had no choice but to find himself speaking oddly at times for the simple fact that he has been with me for so long.  (smile).  I am lucky as well that he can finish my sentences and understand what I am saying when I trail off before finishing or start in the middle of a story that I started in my head.

When we began talking about having a baby we somehow started referencing to babies as “Taters”.  It was all about “let’s make a tater” and “I can’t wait to have a tater”.  We are even that cheesy that I bought a baby potato head toy and glued a pacifier in its mouth to tell Kevin I was pregnant (2nd time around).  I still have it stashed away with various baby paraphernalia.

So….. It is with humor that I find myself venturing into my first garden (ever) and of course I will be growing a variety of “taters”.  At first I wasn’t going to mention gardening or other “off topic” things on this blog but it dawned on me that just about everything I do I mentally relate to infertility.  It isn’t a choice but just my reality.  I actually have found that this infertile journey has made me much more passionate about things like writing, making things (I sell various handmade items in my own Etsy shop) and now gardening.  12932597_10209449090489907_8528610916427360666_n

This whole gardening concept I have found quite overwhelming.  Recently, as I was overthinking it (my usual) I found myself fearing that this little garden wouldn’t be successful (thus the overthinking).  I think I need to prove to myself that while I haven’t been successful in making a baby (tater) I can grown real taters (and all the other various vegetables I am planning on).  So, I will probably post tidbits hear and there about how this whole garden is going.  It has been rewarding watching some of my seedlings actually grow.

Now you know a little bit more about our quirky little family and stay tuned for how those taters turn out.  Sorry for the shorter post this week but it is a gorgeous day out today so we are going to go play.

Support and Resources

As I mentioned in my last post I feel it is important to share some valuable resources that I have stumbled upon over the years.  This is by no means a comprehensive list but I hope it offers you a place to start.  I welcome you to share additional resources in the comments and I will do my best to amend this list accordingly.  All links will open a new page so you can return here for more resources.  Please feel free to share.

The Internet Health Resources Company:  Exclusive to fertility organizations this is a great starting point to educate yourself about infertility, deciding if and when you need help and where to find it.  Tons of information here.

Books about Infertility:  A large database of books that can help you anywhere along your journey.

The National Infertility Association – RESOLVE:  Their goal is to improve the lives of women and men living with infertility.  A huge amount of information here from educational resources to finding support groups.

Live Strong Foundation Fertility Services:  LIVESTRONG Fertility is dedicated to providing educational information and access to resources that support cancer patients and survivors whose cancer and its treatment present risks to their fertility.

American Pregnancy Association:  Pregnancy calendars, learning about ovulation, tracking tools and many resources on fertility.  They also have a shop with tools and supplements to aid in fertility and a healthy pregnancy.

The Endometriosis Association:  Their website is a bit goofy but has useful information for treatment and dealing with infertility as a cause of endometriosis.

Infertility Network:  An interesting site that provides news coverage from around the world about infertility.  They advocate for reform as well.

PCOS Foundation:  Resources and support for those suffering with PCOS or trying to get diagnosed.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association:  Another site dedicated to those suffering with PCOS.

PCOS Challenge:  The support system to help women beat PCOS.

Path 2 Parenthood:  a site dedicated to reproductive health, infertility prevention and treatment, and family-building options including adoption and third party solutions.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Infertility:  Even the CDC cares about Infertility.

Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology – SART:  This site is dedicated to Assisted Reproductive Technology with emphasis on IVF.

The Fertility Institutes:  A world leading fertility center with resources and information on locating an IVF clinic near you.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine: I have linked to the section of the site for patients.  News, research and educational videos.

Again, this list isn’t meant to be comprehensive but I hope you find the information you are seeking.  Please feel free to share this post with someone you feel may benefit from any of these resources.

Belated Bunny Blues

A bit late on my weekly posting goals but better late than never.  Originally, this post was going to be about Resources for those going through fertility hardships.  That post will come soon but I am trying to write this blog organically as much as possible and not just write a bunch of content that will automatically post.

So…. why what do I mean by Belated Bunny Blues?  Well, in honesty it was supposed to be Bunny Blues and be written prior to Easter but aah well, that didn’t happen.  I found myself feeling rather sad during the last week or so and it took me a minute to figure out why.   I thought due in part to putting this Blog out there (more on this below) but, the sadness was more than that and it dawned on me that it was Easter.  Thus, Bunny Blues and now Belated Bunny Blues.  😉

I am sure that many of us are affected in some way by holidays especially in association with losses.  Holidays come in all shapes and sizes and include various memories.  From a fertility standpoint there are not too many holidays that don’t remind me that I am childless.  While many of them are often painful times for me I have found that the holidays more geared towards children are definitely the toughest.  I am not a religious person So Easter is far more about getting together with family now.  Easter as a child always involved getting together with our large family.  As children we would hunt for the Easter eggs hidden by older cousins, we would play games like tag and yard darts.  It was a light and joyful time.  At home my parents would make the whole Easter basket thing a huge treasure hunt which I loved.  As all of these childhood memories were formed and I would smile back fondly remembering them as an adult I often would dream of doing those same things for my future children.

As Easter was fast approaching television and social media became flooded with the newest trends in Easter Bunny festivities.  Cute ideas for Easter baskets, fun and creative ways to dye eggs, colorful little dresses.  In addition it was paired with all of the fun spring break activities many friends were doing with their little families.  As each day would draw closer to Easter I found myself more and more weighed down by sadness.

While Kevin and I haven’t totally given up on having a family we aren’t getting any younger and after 9 years I really don’t know that we will get the chance to create these memories and traditions with children of our own.  We aren’t blessed with nieces or nephews to dote on and many of our close friends don’t live nearby.  Those who are close have their own family traditions to carry on and it makes it difficult to join them without feeling we are pushing ourselves on them.

My overall sadness I found later had been intensified by my cycle that was beginning and resulted in me spending some quality time with the heating pad.  What is it about times that are already difficult in the fertility land that we must be reminded physically that we aren’t pregnant.  I know I am not the only one who experiences this.  Such a strange thing.  Side note, that was my main cause for the delay of this post.

I can say however that I did do well on Easter.  Despite my cramps I made a conscious effort to stay off of social media and kept busy binge-watching various programs on Hulu.  We had spent time with family earlier in the weekend so it was just a low key day and honestly mentally preparing this blog entry in my head helped as well.  So, it is being therapeutic I guess; It is sort of Funny too I guess as bunnies and eggs are so representative of fertility and procreation.

I wanted to finish this by acknowledging how terrified I was feeling after publishing my first post.  The moment after hitting publish my stomach was in knots.  I am a fairly open book and I know sharing my story may help someone out there and is definitely helping me so why the fear?  My biggest fear when thinking about starting a blog was all about my writing abilities.  I don’t find myself particularly witty or cerebral in my writing.  Now that I am writing and putting it out there the next fear is all about being and feeling judged.  Ironically, I am more fearful of this by those I know than someone I have never met.  Luckily for each friend who wasn’t supportive of this idea and often made me feel like they are tired of hearing about my losses I have a friend (often more) who is there to say “you can do it” and that my story is worth sharing and will help someone.  Those friends who cry not only with you but for you when you no longer have tears.  Friends who remember to ask how things are going.  Friends who are like family.  There are also some amazing bloggers out there who have done this for so long and yet recently one of my favorite bloggers Hannah Marcotti shared about her own fears of being judged by what she is putting out there.  It was after reading her blog post “Please, stop reading my words” that I knew I had to get this post under my belt and move on to the future.

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Funnily enough this little guy was just hopping past my office window.  Couldn’t help but wonder if his ears were burning.  Pardon the picture quality as they are fast little buggers.

Well, I’ll take that as a sign that I needed to put this out there.  Maybe the rabbit left me some eggs too.

I hope if you have found my little blog that in some way you are reminded that you are not alone.  Whether you are trying to get pregnant for the first time, recovering from a still birth or miscarriage or suffering through secondary fertility your journey means something.

Baby dust and blessings to you, Love Lara

 

 

The Lonely Womb is Born

Hey there, Welcome to my little ol’ Blog.  I assume if you have found me that you are here as a supportive friend or family member (thank you tribe) or you have found yourself affected by the TTC (Trying to Conceive) journey somehow.  Perhaps you are still trying to conceive, have suffered through pregnancy or infant loss or you love someone who has or is on this journey and you want to help by understanding.  Either way, Welcome to you!

After a lot of pondering and plenty of nudging from family and friends I am finally writing about my infertility journey.  This process I hope will be a help to someone out there as much as it will be a therapeutic thing for myself.  I find myself both excited and terrified to be writing a Blog but here I am.

I hope you find what you are looking for here or learn something new.  My hope is that sharing my story and journey of infertility, multiple miscarriage and being a childless woman will help someone or perhaps several someones.

I am no wordsmith and if it weren’t for editing software I assure you this Blog would be one run on sentence.  So, please know that my intention is to be real, to be honest, to be vulnerable and to be supportive.

I want this Blog to become a place where we can come together and share our insights, hope and those bitter moments too.  This isn’t going to be a sugar coated.  Fertility struggles are hard, emotional, isolating and painful.  Will I have posts that are positive?  Sure!  But, there will be posts that may be dark, sarcastic, bitter and some may bring you to tears.  Hopefully, some may make you laugh as well.

My goal for now is to post something at least once a week.  This little post will be my start.  I also need to learn how to build this website too so that gives me a little time but forces me to put this out there.

So, here we go!

 

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