Knowing My Body Has Killed Our Children
I have written before about my personal interpretation of shame and blame regarding our recurrent pregnancy losses (5 consecutive miscarriages). At the time, we did know have an explanation for our losses, rather we were told that we should keep trying and eventually it will just work.
Today, we know more. We are no longer within the category of unexplained RPL.
Wish answers, blame and shame could easily enter into the equation.
Today I know, without a doubt, that my body has successfully quietly killed each one of our children. With a deadly combination of low blood flow (i.e. lack of oxygen getting to the fetus), likely low progesterone levels, and over active internal immunological response fighting the placenta and fetus as a foreign entity, and an improper lining causing implantation issues, our children really had no chance, With babies and 1 and 5, my body never even gave them a chance. With pregnancies 2, 3, and 4, my body took its sweet time to end the life of our children. Essentially, these 3 babies tried so hard to live, they achieved heart rates, they held on for dear life. They fought. I fought with them. My husband fought with us. In the end, we all lost the battle.
So, knowing that my body is to reason we have lost our children, and likely will not try again, is an interesting perspective to have. I know many infertile couples already have this type of knowledge, and deal with accepting the circumstances. But for us, this is new and uncharted territory.
I found it really easy not to feel shame and/or blame when we were classified as unexplained. When we had no cause, it was impossible for me to assign blame or shame.
Today, with the knowledge we have gained in the last few weeks, I can assert that I still don’t feel shame for our situation. Even though society doesn’t want to hear about miscarriage, and most people do not want to and/or do not know how to support couples experiencing the loss of a child during pregnancy, my relationship with shame will not change with this new information. Simply put, I am not shameful and I will not allow societal pressures to force me into this type of a feeling. It is not healthy, and I just don’t subscribe to this emotional perspective.
So, what about blame? This one is a bit more complicated now that I know with certainty that my body is the problem.
While, my body is the problem, my mind and spirit are not. And, I see a clear distinction here, a very big distinction as I cannot control my body’s internal mechanisms, but I can control my mind and our approach to each pregnancy. I did every single thing imaginable to provide each one our children with a healthy and safe home in my uterus. I fully lived within the pregnancy bubble – eating healthy, sleeping well, reducing my stressful work life (and eventually eliminating it all together), going to counselling to try to have a healthy mental state, avoiding strenuous activities, eliminating alcohol and not touching crack/cocaine. I filled my heart with love for each one of our children. I did everything right, and by all normal measures, I could not have done anything more to support and care for each one of our babies. So, I guess, what all of this boils down to is that while this is my body’s fault, I do not blame myself as the intent was never to harm our children, in fact with every bit of my being, the intent was the exact opposite. And, I really just cannot blame myself for something outside of my control.
I said months ago when we were unaware of the cause of our losses, “even if there was a problem with the eggs, or sperm or uterus, I still wouldn’t see this is our fault. Neither of us are willfully causing this situation by anything we are doing or have done.” I still hold this to be true. At the end of the day, this is not something we knowingly did – we were given bad medical advice. We trusted. We thought our RE had done his homework and his research. We got burned. I cannot and will not blame my husband or I for doing what we thought was right based on the information we had from the “experts.”
That said, if I am completely honest, I have to admit that I do feel blame. I feel an immense amount of blame (and anger) towards the medical system within my province and our local RE who kept assuring us that there was no reason for our RPL. Had our local RE had done a better job of looking for answers a year ago when we were first referred to them, we would not have had a 4th and 5th loss. I say this confidently because quite frankly, who in their right mind would keep trying knowing that everything possible that can conspire to kill a fetus, will? I don’t think our RE did this maliciously, but I do think his ego wouldn’t allow him to admit he is not an expert in RPL, rather he is an expert in making babies through IVF. Further, I think if our medical system afforded the used the best possible technology, required doctors to do their homework and read the most recent literature and data, and doctors were afforded the time to pay attention to patients, we would have learned the truth a year ago. Instead, we forked out a bunch of money (which thankfully we could afford), travel out of country to a world-renowned expert in the USA, and learned our truth in a matter of one appointment using proper (and readily available) technology, and speaking with someone who is a leading expert in our situation. Today, if I could go back in time, I just wish our local RE had put his ego aside and admitted he does not have the expertise and time to properly help us, and that the medical system here was not going to lead us to the cause. I can only imagine how much heart ache we could have prevented.
So what does all this mean to me today? Right now, I do not blame myself, but I do feel more sorrow and melancholy then anything. I feel bad for myself that I have been dealt this hand. Even more so, I feel bad for my husband that he has been dealt this hand – he would make an amazing parent (a better parent then me any day). Most of all, I feel bad for our babies. I feel bad that we created them with the absolute best of intentions, just so that they could die. Due to my bad genetics, this isn’t fair to any of us. It isn’t fair that we have endured the hell of losing 5 babies, to only now learn the reason. Mostly it was never fair to our children. I am sad for us, and I am sad for anyone else who is in a similar situation. My heart aches, my soul is broken, and today I am left trying to pickup the pieces and move forward to build a different type of family (what that means, I have no idea today but I’m sure we will get there eventually).
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