Monday, June 24, 2013

Positive for Rheumatoid factor and low B-12

I will write more another time with all the details but I promised I would always keep my medical information up to date for those of you who may need the information for your own journey. I just tested positive for Rheumatoid factor and low B-12. I'm certain all of my reproductive issues and other random health issues over the last 20 years are somehow all connected to this and hopefully I will get a diagnosis and treatment soon to help me feel better. I will post more another time.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Feelings about your miscarriages/loss after you have living children.

That was a question I was recently asked. I feel weird writing about this and admitting certain things because I don't know if my reaction is the "norm" and I certainly don't want to insult anyone or make the general public think this is how everyone responds. So let's preface this with, in MY experience, the following happened:

I have two living children and I had experienced loss before both of their conceptions.  Prior to Nathan, we lost Ian at 22 weeks.  Six months prior to conceiving Caleb we had our first early miscarriage but the most devastating of my early miscarriages both physically and emotionally- I bled out and almost died during that one, I REALLY wanted that baby, thought it was my last chance to give my son a sibling, was FLOORED that I was now experiencing a first trimester miscarriage after everything we had been through with the later loss, I quit my job because I couldn't handle anything. That low was almost as low as when we lost Ian at 22 weeks.

With Nathan I was never able to wrap my head around "Well, if you hadn't lost Ian, you wouldn't have had Nathan." In fact, I didn't like to think about it. It wasn't a comforting thought. There was never and will never be any sort of feelings that started with "well, at least" or "if this hadn't happened" or "we should just be thankful"..... I think the main reason is because this wasn't my body passing a chromosomally abnormal baby. This was my body being defective and killing my perfect child.

As for the early miscarriage prior to Caleb. I look back on that and can't BELIEVE what a volatile reaction I had to that. NOW, I can actually say that I'm glad that miscarriage happened so I could have my Caleb. I can't imagine if that baby had lived and we didn't have Caleb. I'm so thankful that things worked out how they did and not how I wanted. Is it made easier by the fact that it was likely an abnormal "fetal pole" and my body was doing the "right thing" that time? It didn't feel like that at the time, that's for sure. But yes, as I sit here now, I can honestly say that I'm glad I suffered that miscarriage. I could never imagine who that baby could have been. I don't have any regrets other than how I handled it at the time. Of course we wish we could see into the future because if I could, then I would have seen my sweetheart Caleb and breezed through that miscarriage knowing who was coming next! But for some reason I was supposed to experience it the way I did.

Even though we were done building our family I suffered a few more early miscarriages after Caleb (I conceived these on the birth control pill). The first one was a real blow because I was farther along when the baby died- 7.5 weeks, we had seen the heartbeat a few times, and were dealing well with the idea of making our family of 4 into a family of 5. But still, the grief from that miscarriage didn't come near to the grief of the one before Caleb.

So will the pain of loss get easier or go away after children.... will the trials and tribulations of the  "journey" be a distant memory that no longer matters after children..... It depends on the person and the situation. After living children, the trials and tribulations turned from despairing dark horrors, into milestones that made me appreciate these children more. They became positive in a way. All but losing Ian and the circumstances surrounding that. Those will forever be etched in our hearts and minds forever. The pain is no longer a constant sharp knifing to my body and heart like it was 8 years ago and for years after but it is definitely there always, and always will be. Like the dull throbbing of a headache about to get bad, occasionally I feel the sharpness, but it's few and far between.

A surprising thing that has happened as my living children grow to be older, is that Ian's loss in particular has allowed some joy, in the sense that our children love to hear about their older brother and like to think of him in heaven watching over them. That was unexpected joy for sure, but joy nonetheless. How they process his death and "remember him" is so abstract and sheds a new kind of light and understanding on it for me and my husband. And it's nice. It's a nice change. They weren't there for the horrors of it so their perception is so..... light, and gentle, and loving, and kind, and hopeful, and sweet, and heart warming. Those are not things that I ever thought would be brought to the experience of Ian.

So that, my friends, is the answer to the question the person asked in more depth and maybe you will feel free to share your feelings about it :-)

Monday, June 17, 2013

One of the things I did to make it through....

Going through a subsequent pregnancy with a cerclage after a prior second trimester loss is a special kind of hell. Not one second of my pregnancies with Nathan and Caleb were carefree and joyful. I felt like I held my breath the whole time and begged God everyday on my knees to please let me have this one.
So I was newly pregnant with Nathan (didn't know he was Nathan yet), just had the cerclage placed the month prior, and I was having a really rough day at work at the psych hospital so I sat down and cried. Felt my blood pressure was up and he was kicking up a storm and I needed to do something to acknowledge him, bond with him, and calm me down. Poetry and Powerpoints are NOT my strong points so keep that in mind. It's what I felt compelled to do. Nathan LOVES it when I read it to him now :-)

Everyone, absolutely everyone on this planet, needs to read this book.

I strongly recommend everyone read "Proof of Heaven-A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife" by Eben Alexander, M.D. 
This isn't your run of the mill near death experience, this is the REAL DEAL.

I'd love to hear your feedback on it after you read it! Thanks guys. Love you all.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Spam-Captcha's going back on

I've gotten two spam comments just this morning so I hate to do this but I'm moderating comments again and putting the captcha back on. Sorry guys. How freaking obnoxious.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Just to clarify....

I've gotten a lot of private feedback from friends and family about my post regarding change, and I assure you, if you are concerned about that post being about you, it's NOT. It was more of a preaching to the choir thing and just and awareness, more than a "I'm going to beat you over the head with what you can't possibly understand".  As I'm rereading it today I'm seeing that it had an angry vibe and a "my pain is worse than yours" and I SO didn't mean it that way. I think reading other blogs about people going through it right now is why I got so feisty about it. So all of you awesome folks in my life, please don't feel like I'm singling anyone out or saying that our relationships how they are now aren't enough. I love you all :-)

Monday, June 3, 2013

HTML drama, bear with me please

I've been trying to get these ads on here correctly and in the process, totally F-ed up my entire scheme so bear with me. I don't know if I will be able to get it back to how it was before. ARGGGGGGGHHHH!!

Another lovely drawing of Ian's name

Thank you so much Shannon. This means so much to us. We LOVE to see his name and know that he is not forgotten and that others care enough to do these sweet things and read his story. XOXO

Off topic- need Etsy advice

Do any of you have any experience with Etsy, particularly with selling. What sells well, what is there a demand for, is it an easy way to sell homemade things? Basically any experiences you have, advice, information would be great. I've already signed up and read their information but I haven't "opened a store". I guess I'm nervous to get started without hearing any "real people" advice. So please help me if you can! Have a great day!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

How we change during continual trauma and the fallout....

Who are we at any given point of our reproductive journey? I'd like to meet the person that says that they are the exact same person they were when they started this hellacious "journey". I use "journey" loosely because that implies that we were willing participants or at least reluctantly going along on this journey. I don't know about you but I can't even count the amount of times I felt like a Giant was whipping me from one side to the other, smashing me into the dirt and dragging me behind him by my hair until it was no longer fun and then he left me there to die. I have a million analogies but those of you have lived it need no analogies. You understand too damn well what I'm talking about.
So that brings me to the topic for this post. Change. I've been reading a lot of blogs about how their relationships are changing with friends and family because they aren't the same and no one understands what they are going through. These wonderful and hurting women are holding the guilt and pain and responsibility for tense/failing relationships, isolating when it's strictly a matter of survival, inability to join in others joy and celebrations surrounding pregnancy/new babies. It's all put on us. IT IS SO WRONG.  These kind and courageous women try to stay "normal" for their friends/family/work/society and just suck up the fact that they are going through one of the most horrific experiences a couple can experience in this life. Because God forbid we offend someone or don't live up to their expectations for how we should be dealing with our shit storm. For me, I had up until just recently, friends and family wanting the "Old Melanie" back. I was made to feel bad for being WHO I AM NOW. The OLD MELANIE IS DEAD.
We are changed forever aren't we. That seems to be a given. We are not the same people we were. What has been most shocking to me on the "other side" of the family completion spectrum, is that even with cutting out poisonous or unfruitful relationships over the years, now that we have attained our goals and have what we hoped/prayed/strived/fought for..... PEOPLE NOW EXPECT THAT REACHING OUR GOALS MEANS WE CAN GO BACK TO THE WAY IT WAS. Ok so now let's just pretend none of this ever happened, erase the last ten years and move on. That's what friends and family think. Yes, I'm sure they are tired of hearing about our issues/drama and they can't wait to move on and get their loved ones back. I'm berated for still struggling with depression, for having difficulty not being able to keep up with the house work, for not being able to go back to work yet, for still having anger and anxiety issues, for still not having a stable spiritual relationship, for being on so many medications still......  So for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of living our life, let me clarify for you, ready?
Let me try and give you a little watered down version of "THE CHANGES". 
Let me preface this by saying that not only was I changing with every negative HPT, and every loss, and every painful procedure, and every diagnosis.... but there was someone else who was changing in his own way and was just as affected and involved. My dearest hubby. My oh my, I couldn't even figure out who I was at any particular moment, how was I supposed to maintain a relationship with a spouse who was doing the same. AHHHHHHHHHHHH.  You'll see later how badly that bit  me in the ass. Not like I could have done anything differently or better than I did at the time. I did what I could.
I wish I was only changed ONCE during this whole process but NO, oh no, it's much more horrible and complicated..... Let's start with completely naive Melanie. Naive Melanie wasn't completely dumb. She was college educated in psychology and worked difficult jobs that taught her that very bad things happen to many. However she thought she was exempt from those particular horrors and she was just the one that was designated to "help" those poor souls. She knew she may have difficulty conceiving due to many years diagnosed with PCOS but surely it would just be a minor delay, nothing serious. And it really wasn't in the grand scheme of things. Took a few years, major diet changes, and she finally got pregnant. Naive Melanie was ECSTATIC and nervous of course. When she found out she was having the son she always wanted, she had never been happier in her whole entire life. That lasted one week. Naive Melanie disappeared forever on April 14th 2005, when she delivered her first son at 22 weeks and he died in her arms.
Melanie 1 replaced Naive Melanie immediately, put up some walls, and violently went through the stages of grief many times over, self medicated, self hated, felt hate towards others, jealous, bitter, angry, guilty, and her whole world as she'd known it was gone forever. The God she thought she knew, the spirituality she was exploring, all dead to her. She had been suddenly, shockingly, and horrendously wounded and became isolated, vascillating between apathy and rage/pure hate, defensive, self harming and suicidal. Melanie 1 was barely able to continue working at a high stress job. Melanie 1 and Josh had some talks and made some decisions. They both felt that trying again immediately for another child would help them. They felt they needed a goal, something to focus on, perhaps to help the grief and pain. They got pregnant with Nathan almost immediately.
It was then that Melanie 1 left and was replaced by Melanie 2.  Melanie 2 was determined, hopeful but cautious, wanted as much control as possible, took excellent care of her body, REFUSED TO THINK about anything other than this baby (who she knew was a boy) being born full term, healthy, and in her arms in 9 months. She was more positive yet anxious however she started delving into prayer and her spirituality again. Melanie 2 was strong willed, advocated for proper care, became an expert on her reproductive issues and treatments. They went on to have a precarious pregnancy with Nathan-harrowing cerlcage placement, worst case scenario, and then FEAR every second of every day, the agony of carrying a baby and wondering if your beloved baby was alive or dead in your body. But Melanie 2 was still strong and determined, pushing away the feelings of fear, inadequacy, and grief over Ian.  Melanie 2 made it full term with her rainbow baby Nathan.
Melanie 3 emerged at his birth, full of joy and happiness and excitment. Melanie 3 was relieved and loving and caring and kind. Melanie 3 and Josh brought their new miracle home to their new home and couldn't wait to start a wonderful life. Melanie 3 didn't last very long.
She was completely side swiped by Melanie 4, the post partum grieving bitch. Melanie 4 required therapy and medications and was in shock that after all she had been through, why couldn't she just enjoy her miracle, her rainbow baby, and move on with a wonderful life. Melanie 4 suffered a deep chronic depression which was a combination of delayed grieving for Ian and terrible post partum depression. What was wrong with her, everyone asked, including her. Melanie 4 hung around for a LONG time and fucked all kinds of shit up, spiritually, financially, maritally-nothing major. After a major last minute decision to sell their house and move back to the state they were from, Melanie 4 was positive at first, happy and work started looking up. She got a raise and a promotion. She thought this would be a great time to start trying for another baby. Josh was totally onboard. They enjoyed the fall together, were excited about the future plans. Melanie 4 managed to pull herself out of the pits of despair. Melanie 4 and Josh desperately wanted Nathan to have a sibling, it was something they felt very strongly about and were willing to go through the fear and unknown again...... they got pregnant immediately aaaaaannnnndd cue the most horrendous unexplained first trimester miscarriage, Melanie 4 tried hard to deal with it well, she was in shock. Waited 12 weeks for her body to miscarry naturally, only to bleed out in her sister's bathroom on Jan. 1 2010, she almost died, what the hell. There was no reason for that miscarriage. Melanie 4 tried but after the D & C in another state over the holiday and an unsympathetic Supervisor that busted her balls over the phone, Melanie 4 called it quits.
Melanie 5 arrived in a full and horrifying mental breakdown. Melanie 5 became completely apathetic and that was all. Sad too. She quit work and gave them a piece of her mind and then laid around in a delusional fog, putting all responsibility and finances on Josh, who has never had to do this and was shell shocked himself. Melanie 5 DIDN'T GIVE A FUCK. About anyone. Melanie 5 was gone. Barely was able to take care of Nathan. Isolated completely and didn't care.  Melanie 5 was completely disconnected from Josh who was working two hard jobs to make ends meet because Melanie 5 was completely and utterly unavailable for anything. She went on and off meds, and then turned into a wreckless uncaring wench that enjoyed drinking and hurting others just to feel SOMETHING. Apathy with the meds, mania while off of them and self medicating....things were the worst they've ever been. Melanie 5 stayed the longest and created the most havoc. Melanie 5 made a piss poor attempt at taking a new job but got fired after only three weeks. Melanie 5 didn't even care that much. She went on her medication and stayed on it, was less miserable, got a puppy, moved to another house and in the process Melanie 5 and Josh decided they would try one.more.time.
Melanie 5 left the morning that Melanie 6 found out she was pregnant with Caleb. Melanie 6 knew she was pregnant long before the positive test and she knew he was hers for the long haul. Faced the same stressful pregnancy issues, easier cerclage, but she was happy during this pregnancy even worked a bit. Caleb was born full term and healthy. Melanie 6 was finally truly HAPPY and joyful! She was an improvement on the other Melanie's. Melanie 6 wasn't working and stayed home with him and nurtured him. She thought, I could get used to this. No post partum this time either. She gave him her all, everything she had and SHE LOVED IT. But there was always something in the back of her mind bothering her, like when you forget something and you just can't place what it was........ Then Melanie 6 remembered....  HER MARRIAGE!  After Caleb was born, Melanie 6 was so thrilled to be feeling happy and joyful after all those years feeling depressed, sad, and terrible. She was so thrilled that she was able to stay home with him and care for the completion of their family in peace and happiness. She was so focused on everything else, that she COMPLETELY and inadvertenly threw her husband to the wayside, ignored his needs without even realizing how terrible their marriage was. Melanie 6 really wanted to pretend that everything was normal and happy now that she had their completed family. Except she spent who knows how many years neglecting her marriage and ignoring her husband's stress and pain and fear. Things went unresolved and Josh was the type to bottle it up instead of upset her with his needs and worries. So there they were, with everything they had worked so hard for, finally, trying to just start from there new and fresh, yet they were completely disconnected and their marriage was about to end. It happens. It happens just like that. Melanie (all of them) and Josh are the souliest of soulmates. And if they could be derailed.... anyone can, frightening! The details about the "almost divorce" I won't go into, but it was bad, the things said and done were very uncharacteristic of us but who the hell knew WHO WE WERE ANYMORE. I didn't keep track of Josh's changes 1-6, like I did mine. I assumed he was fine and just kept it all together and could pick up the slack and not need the support right now. There was a lot of hurt, years of unresolved and undiscussed issues. 
That is when Melanie 7 arrived, yes, a different Melanie, a major change happened even after we had finished our family, who would have thought? I am Melanie 7 and every day is a struggle. I'm sure there will be more "Melanie's" throughout my life. Sometimes having your happy ending, isn't what you expected and the changes you still go through are confusing and frightening. I decided to focus on my marriage and my kids right now. I like to be by myself with my family right now, isolated, even minimal family contact. I tried, sometimes painfully to maintain close friendships with great old friends as I went through all these different changes and I didn't realize how taxing it was on me. After a certain point, even my best friends don't want to hear it anymore. They don't know what else to say or do. They don't UNDERSTAND, that's the problem. So where do you go from there? For me, I had to cut them off. Only the people that love me unconditionally and don't passively aggressively make me feel guilty for not being able to "give" as much to their relationships are allowed with my family. Only the people that have NO EXPECTATIONS and NO OPINIONS for who I am now, what I'm doing, how I'm doing, you get the picture. Because that's how I have to do it for us right now, even after we accomplished our goal and thought life would be much easier now. No each reproductive struggle we endure scars us, some deeper than others, some take longer to heal, but the skin will never be the same. We will never be the same, and that's ok. I'm not who I thought I would be right now. I'm living up to whatever potential meter I had for myself. I'm doing what I'm doing, and that's all I can do right now. Other people can take their judgements/expectations/advice and shove it. Most of them have NO EARTHLY IDEA, not even an iota, of what we've been through. And that causes such a huge disconnect even in the best friendships I've noticed. I know a lot of you feel guilty and sad when you have to do this but I can honestly say at this point, I don't feel those things. It's survival. I don't know what the nature of my friendships will look like in the future. I haven't even begun to explore that because like I said, I'm focusing on the us right now.
And as a last message here.... If I could go back and do one thing over, it would be this- I would cling to my husband (which I did in the beginning during the immediate traumas) but I would cling to him ALL THE TIME, we would cling during the fear, the unknown, the confusion, the death, the opposite moods, the pain, the anger, the hurt, the worry, the anxiety, the conflicts of opinion and feeling, we would cling during the down times when life was blah and there was no immedate crisis but we were just unhappy and blah, even then. Because I look back on all of the time we wasted emotionally and even physically separated during those times when clinging would have greatly benefitted us and gotten us through this stronger as individuals and as a couple. Clinging in fear and worry and distress and the unknown is an ODD concept to think about, but I would have done it, because the alternative did not work out for us and almost ruined us. I LOVE reading the blogs of women who are continually downtrodden (I don't love that part) but that say "This has made me and my partner stronger, and for that I'm grateful."

Ask me anything!

I haven't been blogging of late and I wanted to start back with an "ask me anything" section. If you have any questions or comments about any issue related to this blog or something you want me to elaborate on, doesn't matter how personal, I will answer truthfully. Ask away!! I look forward to hearing from you.