The Most Petrifying Experience of My Life

Being pregnant is one of those things that almost every single women seems to want to experience at least once in her life. I am generalizing here, so let me be clear that I do acknowledge that there are a number of women and couples who chose not to have biological children either by choice or due to infertility.

For me, I desperately want to be a mother, yet at this point in my life I can state without hesitation that I have absolutely have no desire to experience pregnancy. Or at least never again.

See for me, pregnancy is petrifying. I have carried and lost 5 babies. Of those 5, Mr. MPB and I have waited and watched 2 slowly die. Of those 5, my husband and I have chose to terminate one in order to save my life.

So, you see, I have absolutely no desire to be pregnant. I have no womanly inclination to experience pregnancy left in me – the first kicks, watching the baby bump grow, going to ultrasounds to see our baby, labour, etc. The dream of experiencing labour is lost to me because my version of labour has thus far included being induced through misoprostol/cytotec (2 different times), and one an emergency trip to the hospital to have an emergency D&C due to complications from the misoprostol/cytotec. See, my version of labour is waiting to pass products of pregnancy while being doped up on Percocet and Oxytocin to handle the pain (T3’s just don’t cut it for me). My version of pregnancy has been countless trip to the emergency room, weekly ultrasounds waiting for confirmation of fetal demise, hoping our child is not suffering and hoping that I don’t end up with another septic infection through the process.

Pregnancy for me is simply not a fun experience. Rather, it is literally a life a death situation. It is a daily hope that my baby isn’t dying or dead. It is a daily struggle to maintain a healthy perspective on life, while balancing all the fears that past pregnancies have given me.

After reading our history, you can probably understand why unlike most women, I no longer dream of experiencing pregnancy. All of our experiences, have meant that I am no longer naive. I am no longer able to assume that pregnancy will be one of the best times of my life. Instead, for me, pregnancy has literally been the worst experience of my life.

So, I know a future pregnancy will be petrifying. It is unlikely that I will enjoy it. It is unlikely that Mr. MPB will enjoy it. It is unlikely either of us will have any moments of naïve joy during the entire pregnancy. You see, we’ve been told that we have no “safe” date. Most people have a much better statistical chance of success once they get to the second trimester. This is not be the case for us. We have a 50% chance of success (or a 50% change of failure depending on your perspective) right up until the child is born, hopefully alive. This means we have a 50% chance of losing our baby at 5 weeks, 15 weeks, 25 weeks or 39 weeks. There simply is no safe time, as my body could wag the war against the placenta and the baby at any time. There is no time where we can take a deep breath, and enjoy blissful moments of innocent hope. You see, once (and only once) one of our babies (baby number 4) had a strong healthy fetal heart rate and looked great by all medical standards – to us, this meant our baby was perfect. We were told to be cautiously optimistic. We got so excited, we thought this one would be different and would make it. Mr. MPB was over the moon excited. Then, two weeks later, our baby was no-more. Our baby was dead.

So, if we were to get pregnant again, rather than getting to take a deep breath at the 13 week mark with a good neonatal scan (assuming we make it that far), we will keep living on pins and needles and living hour to hour hoping our baby is still alive. We will battle the demons of doubt and fear, and fight back the daily/hourly questions about our baby’s state of being (i.e. living or dead). Our doubts and fears are grounded in our past experience and our reality – no matter how hard we try, we cannot ignore or forget our past experiences.

So you see, while almost all will-be mom’s are desperate to experience all things pregnancy, this just isn’t the case for me. The idea of being pregnant again is literally the scariest things I can think of.

Photo Source: Office.com Clip Art

Photo Source: Office.com Clip Art

For me, I am desperate to bring home a healthy living baby. I am desperate to do everything in my power to protect and shelter this baby, and actually have it work. The naïve dreams of multiple children are gone, slowly turned to hoping for just one. But, I also know, my desperation means nothing to the outcome of another pregnancy. This is beyond my control, so long as we try another pregnancy, I am unable to move the pieces on the chessboard to win the game. Instead, I will be forces to wait and I watch. Live in fear. Live without hope.

.

So, here we are, giving up. Saying enough is enough. In the dream to be pregnant, RPL has won, and we have lost. Knowing my body is causing each baby to die is just too great of a hurdle for me to overcome. For me, losing another baby with this knowledge is not something I can risk – I’ve weathered 5 losses pretty well. Yes, in many ways I am a completely changed person, but from a mental health perspective I am not depressed, I am not a raging lunatic, and I am not at the end of my rope. Yet, I now I know that losing another one, with our new knowledge, will likely result in my undoing. I need to stop before I completely lose myself.

So, while we give up on trying again, we are opening new doors. We are embracing the hope that goes along with adoption. We are working to come to terms with all our adoption fears. We are educating ourselves to know what adoption really means to us, to our child, to our future family dynamics – both the good and the bad.

So we will move forward in a new way, taking it one day at a time. I know some days will be hard, but I am determined to focus on hope the best I can. I owe this much to our present selves and our future family.

If you like this post, please feel free to share it and please return to myperfectbreakdown.com to follow my journey.

46 Comments on “The Most Petrifying Experience of My Life

  1. I think pregnancy is terrifying and I haven’t been through one iota of what you’ve been through, so I cannot even imagine how you must be feeling. I think you are so brave for moving forward with adoption and your dream of having a child. I also think it’s strong and brave to recognize that you can’t handle being pregnant again. My heart aches for your losses–the loss of your babies, and also of your mom and sister when you were young. That really seems like too many losses for one person to endure, yet you persevere. Your strength is inspiring.

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  2. I could relate to so much in this post.. I wish I didn’t and I wish you didn’t have so much loss in your life. I just wanted you tell you that I’m thinking of you and looking forward to your future posts. Sending love.

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    • Thank you so much for understanding. I too wish you didn’t and I didn’t have to understand. But, honestly, I take so much strength in knowing that I am not alone, and knowing that you understand all of this. Thank you.

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  3. I think you are an incredibly brave and strong person. It is important to know how much you are willing to put yourself through and only you and your husband can make that decision. You inspire me. I am pregnant now and worry 24/7 and it is no fun! Stay strong and your dreams will come true!

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    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I think anyone who has gone through IF (and not just RPL) is kind of ruined to a naive happy pregnancy. We know all to well the bad side of pregnancy, so our fears are very real.
      I hope that as you get further and further into your pregnancy that you are able to hold onto more hope and let go of more fears, but I understand that this just might not happen easily if at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I deal with pregnant women all day long. Most have no idea how fortunate they are to simply be pregnant, let alone pregnant with out legite fear/worry. It frustrates me to no end that they can complain about such little things (complaining is ok on some level, but some women take it to a level I have difficulty tolerating). I want them all to know your story. I want to scream at them and say, I know people who want to have a baby so desperately but are terrified of pregnancy- who are terrified of their own bodies! There are people who wish they could be in your shoes- uncomplicated pregnancy! but i cant scream those things.

    I’m so sorry you’ve had such stupidly hard time with pregnancy. it’s not fair. sending warm thoughts your way

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    • I admire your ability to work with pregnant women daily, knowing the heartache you have personally experienced. I honestly, don’t know how you do it every day.
      I do not work with pregnant ladies, but I have to agree that it would just be awesome to scream at the healthy complaining pregnant women? I know, neither of us are about to do it, but I do hope that as we raise awareness about our losses that we help build compassion in our predominately fertile society.
      Thank you for being so wonderful.

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  5. I cannot imagine anyone who has experienced loss saying they revel in being pregnant. Hell, I can’t imagine any woman ever saying that at least not once they experience how uncomfortable and worrying and limiting it is to actually be pregnant. It is a means to an end. Period. Our society needs to stop romanticizing shit that is not romantic or idyllic or gumdrops and lollipops in Mary Poppins-villa. No wonder we suffer so much when we can’t get or stay pregnant, society tells us we are failures and rewards us for pretending we are big bloated balls of bliss if lucky enough to get and stay pregnant. It isn’t fun. It’s uncomfortable and terrifying. Nobody would do this Dr the glam appeal. Damn it, our society is still so stinking misogynist.

    Sorry. I don’t know who put that soap box there. I apologize for getting up on it. Rant over.

    I guess in part I’m reacting to the perceived need you have touched upon of most women not only to one day be but to want to be and act like we enjoy being pregnant. If I could skip this part and get a baby somehow genetically (in the LPs case) and epigenetically (in my case) linked to my existing kid, you could charge me a hell of a lot more than the fortune I’ve already spent. I’d be first in line for that ticket. Of course you don’t want to endure another terrifying pregnancy. Who would?

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  6. I’ve told you before how strong and inspiring I feel you are, and I again thank you for sharing so much with everyone. It’s honestly helped me get through my own miscarriage. I think it’s completely fair for you to feel this way. I’m excited for you guys as you start the next phase of your life now!

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  7. Thanks for writing this. Though I haven’t experienced RPL, I cannot imagine being happy about being pregnant. It’s like this secret I can’t really tell to anyone.

    Not that I think that being pregnant can’t be a source of happiness– sure, why not? I just literally cannot imagine me associating that feeling with being pregnant. IF opened my eyes, and I can’t “unsee” the sadness, disappointment, and anxiety I’ve experienced in the last two years.

    One thing I would encourage you to reframe is the idea that you’ve “lost.” What I see is someone who is making a difficult decision to walk away. There is a lot of strength and power in recognizing a situation isn’t healthy, that you have to move forward. That doesn’t sound like loser talk to me.

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    • I think anyone who has experienced IF (not just RPL) likely has a profound relationship with being pregnant. We all know all to well the risks and the fears, so excitement just doesn’t exist. As you said, we cannot “unsee” everything we know. And not many people understand that.
      Thanks for sharing your perspective on my choice of word – lost. In many ways you are so very right, we haven’t lost the, rather we made a decision to redraw the game board and hopefully now stack the cards in our favour. 🙂

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  8. Strong words and powerful message. I can relate all too well to each emotion you portray. I wish none of us had to feel this way. Thank you for sharing.

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  9. This. TRUTH right here. I can so relate to this. I don’t think you have lost though. RPL isn’t a game and there are winners and losers. I think if we play it that way, in my eyes, you’ve won. Since deciding a new direction and way to achieve your family you have “outsmarted”, won over RPL. You have found a way to no longer be pinned down by the hurt and sorrow. Instead you’ve conquered it and found peace in your next steps.
    Although, I know to an extend what you mean. I, too, still feel beat by RPL. Hugs girl, so many hugs. You are so brave!

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    • Thanks for sharing your perspective, I think you and The Common Ostrich might have a pretty good point about us not having lost. Rather we just just re-drawn the game board, and stacked the cards in our favour with our decision to focus on adoption.
      I wish you didn’t understand what I wrote so well, but I am so thankful that I have your support and love through all of this. Thank you!

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  10. I understand exactly how you feel, having lost three babies myself. I’m also seeing a specialist in reproductive immunology in a few weeks and am nervous to see what the tests show. The thought of falling pregnant again fills me with more stress than happiness, as the last three have all ended with no baby. Good for you for taking a path which will hopefully give you the baby you want without any more physical pain and stress xxx

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  11. I just want to add a thought, that of course you are free to disregard. I hate to be a dissenting or discouraging voice, but I feel so strongly in my advocacy for healthy open adoptions that it’s hard to stay quiet. I hope you can forgive me if I come on too strong.

    Being ready to adopt means that you have grieved two things: one, the physical experience of pregnancy/giving birth/breastfeeding/etc., and two, the experience of having a biological child. It sounds like you have the first one covered. But the second part is equally important. I wonder if your worries about openness come from a part of you that’s upset (and not wrongfully so) that your experience of parenting will be different and more complicated because a third party’s involvement is necessary. I hope you are addressing this in a therapeutic setting, because it is so critical to having a healthy and empowering adoption experience. Once you’re in that place, I don’t think you will feel fearful of sharing personal details, or having a truly open relationship, with your child’s family of origin. They are your child’s roots– and your child deserves to know them and have access to them, so there are no unanswered questions and limited or no feelings of rejection and abandonment. Parenting an adopted child has special challenges that are not a part of parenting a biological child, and you, as a prospective adoptive mom, owe it to yourself, your future child(ren) and his/her/their biological family to be ready to embrace that. Again, from what I know of you from reading here, you are deliberate and thoughtful… and I hope that will be the case here, too.

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    • Thanks for your comment Evie. I do appreciate your willingness to ask tough questions.
      I have a post about the importance to biology from months ago (http://wp.me/p4qQfg-7t) – it’s not something I’ve spent much time blogging about, because honestly it has never been a concern for us. As you can see in that post, we have one, and only one reason why biology concerns us. But in the last few months of soul searching we have decided that ultimately our choice to have children through adoption is our choice, and not that of family members. They will make whatever decision they want when it comes to accepting us, but it will be there decision to make (maybe I should spend some time writing a post about our decision making process as it pertains to extended family concerns about biology).
      As well, as we have been working through everything in the last few years, we do have an amazing counsellor, and we have spoken with her many times about adoption in addition to grieving our miscarriages and our “planned” family. So, yes, we do have an amazing support system from the therapeutic perspective.
      As for the openness of an adoption, I think I said this before, but the one thing we have learned from all the adoption agencies we have spoken with, the research we have done, and speaking with counsellors, is that we need to know what we are prepared to accept in an open relationship and what that means to us, our child and the birth mother. At the moment, we know we are not ready to have a pick up the phone every other day kind of relationship, we don’t have that with our own parents (by choice) and it’s not what we want with others who are part of our lives. That said, we also understand that through the homestudy process we will be talking a lot more about this with the adoption social worker, who is an expert in all of this, and will have heard every possible thought process imaginable, so we expect to get support in this in the coming months. So, while we feel this way today, I do acknowledge that we may become more comfortable with a more open relationship with time but as I do not have a crystal ball I simply cannot make any promises and can only speak about the here and now.
      I also feel the need to point out, that while we do have some reservations about an open adoption that involves potentially daily/weekly contact, we have made a very clear decision that we want our child to know there roots and we want to facilitate that relationship so long as it is a healthy relationship. We may have some reservations, but we do understand and completely support that there needs to be a connection and birth family knowledge. Honestly, if we didn’t see the value and the importance of this, we would just adopt from an international country where all records are closed and there would be no chance of knowing the child’s birth parents and family.
      Thank you again for taking the time to read, question and be thought provoking. I truly appreciate your advocacy stance and welcome your continued support.

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      • I appreciate that you know how critical openness is for a healthy experience of adoption for all parties involved, especially the adopted child, and I do trust that you will become more comfortable with the idea as you go along. I do not mean to suggest that healthy openness requires daily or weekly or even monthly contact– just that keeping your surname a secret, or having anonymous email addresses for birth parent contact, is contrary to the spirit of openness.

        What I have found is most beautiful about open adoption is that when I met the people who would become my daughter’s parents, I actually liked them as people (and the feeling was mutual). I wasn’t drawn to them because they were the picture perfect family, but rather because I could imagine that if I had met them under different (normal) circumstances, we might be friends anyway. Those kinds of people aren’t the kinds of people you should feel compelled to be super private and anonymous with– and it ends up feeling so much more comfortable and relaxed, for everyone, as a result. Openness becomes not just something you’re willing to tolerate because it’s in your child’s best interest, but something you yourself truly value because it actually makes you feel MORE secure in your role as your child’s mother.

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  12. I’m amazed at what you’ve endured. It’s remarkable how well you have processed the trauma and loss and moved through it. You’re one tough chick.

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  13. I echo what everyone else said hon, especially how strong I think you are. To have endured and survived all that you have is incredibly inspiring! And I don’t blame you at all for not wanting to get pregnant again. I simply cannot say in enough words how much I am hoping and praying for you and your husband to have an easy adoption process and that your take home baby/child will be with you soon. Huge hug!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My heart ached for you as I read this post. I can really empathise with your words and it always moves me being in this community that writers regularly articulate my personal thoughts so beautifully. You are so brave and inspiring and my thought is that love knows no biological boundaries x

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    • I think so many of us are bound together in such a unique way that some of our most intimate thoughts end up appearing on someone elses blog. It’s kind of weird, but it always makes me feel a bit more “normal” in a very non-normal situation.
      As always, thank you so much for your kind words and love. You mean the world to me.

      Liked by 1 person

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