Healing My Infertility Wound

>> Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I was a complete mix of emotions this time last year. We were on our second cycle trying again after my missed miscarriage in the spring. I had several procedures and tests on the books to figure out why I kept miscarrying. Everything up until that point had come to the conclusion: Unexplained. The frustration had accumulated to an amount so crushing that I couldn't ignore it for more than half an hour. My life had become trying to get pregnant and, more importantly, trying to stay pregnant.

And I was starting to give up.

What I didn't know last year is that we'd suffer yet another loss, leading me to the bottom of the metaphorical ocean with hopelessness and despair. It sounds so intense to write now, but it was truly overpowering. All consuming. Terrifying, too. The next cycle, I became pregnant with Eloise. I still can't believe it happened. I still can't believe she's really here, healthy, and -- most times -- happy. As I sit typing today with an 8-week-old baby snoozing on my chest, I can tell you I feel some days like I've won the lottery.

After "conquering" our secondary infertility, I didn't expect to feel twinges of pain. I didn't expect to be transported back to the same emotions when I read pregnancy announcements or see bumps in my newsfeed. Or when people laugh and say how well we timed E's delivery with Stephen's work schedule. I didn't expect that there would still be times when all we went through seems so close beneath the surface. The severity has waned considerably, but there's still a lot I need to deal with to fully heal from the experience in my mind.

Has anyone else experienced this weird dichotomy of emotions?

There are times when I want to slap myself in the face and say: "You have no right to feel sad/angry/whatever -- you HAVE your baby. Others aren't so fortunate." And that really is the truth. We are fortunate, and I imagine that my feelings will get better -- as they have somewhat already -- with time. Heck. Some days I can't remember how we got here. Then I see flashes of all the OPKs, the doctor appointments, the positive tests, the negative ones, the blood and worse, the waiting for HCG numbers, the question marks, the calculating dates, the countless forum posts, etc.

It's got to take more time. Our recurrent pregnancy loss experience spanned over a year and we've had Eloise less than two mere months.

I came across an interesting essay on the topic of healing the wound of infertility. (It's on the RESOLVE site, which is a wonderful resource if you're going through infertility.) It made a lot of sense to me. Maybe in many ways, I have healed. But there's still that vulnerable, new skin that formed under the scab. That's what it feels like to me, at least. It's still sensitive to the touch. It still bears reminders of what cut it and how deeply. There will likely always be some scar that remains and will fade. The story will stick for life.

I wanted to write today to let all my friends dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss know that I'm thinking of you. It seems like it would be easy to just up and forget the battle once you've had your baby or moved on. Once you've "won." But, really, it isn't so simple and the "winning" feels bittersweet.

Love and strength to you, friends.

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