Learning That We Are Not Alone

When we experienced our first miscarriage, no-one knew we were even trying.  In fact, we almost didn’t know we were trying as we got pregnant in our very first month of officially trying.  A dream come true, right?  Well, not so much.  We lost our baby a few days after our first ever positive pregnancy test.  First some cramping, then some spotting and then a full on bad period. We were told this is normal, almost 20-25% of pregnancy end in miscarriage.  So, picked ourselves back up and continued trying.  We really wanted a happy birth announcement so we kept our loss to ourselves.  We never told a soul.  

A few months later, we were pregnant again.  Our doctor and counsellor, the only two people who knew.  We were nervous and excited all at the same time.  Our hearts were ready, we wanted this baby more than anything.  One day I saw bright pink blood.  Not a lot of it, but enough that I was scared.  I went to the hospital where I was told that our babies fetal heart rate was too low and I would likely miscarry.  After a few excruciating weeks of watching our babies heart beat vanish, we lost our baby and I had an emergency D&C surgery after misoprostol did not work.  Everyone kept telling us that two consecutive miscarriage is normal, so once again we told no-one. I was admitted to the hospital and required to stay overnight and we told no-one.  We suffered in silence.

Once again, few months later, we were pregnant again.  Things were looking good right away as my beta’s doubled just as they should.  But, at our 6 week ultrasound our babies heart rate was just not strong enough.  This little baby had no chance.  It was at this time that everything started to change.  First, this baby refused to give up and let go quickly.  Yet we knew this baby would never make it to full term let alone ever take a breath of air.  We knew our baby would die, and so we began to wait for the inevitable.  The second big change was that we were now considered 1% of couples that will experience Recurrent Pregnancy Loss – known as three consecutive miscarriages.  We were now 1 in 8 who would be diagnoses with infertility.  Know this, and knowing that our path to our family would not be typical we started to tell selectively tell some family and friends.  Most were shocked, they had no idea we were even trying let alone that this would mark our third loss. It was hard, but the outpouring of love that we received was desperately needed as at 13 weeks, my body was sick with the early signs of a septic miscarriage.  My body could not sustain our child’s dying life and mine. I underwent an abortion to save my life.  This was the hardest day of my life.  Very few people knew at that time, but the love we received from those who did was invaluable.

We took a month or two off from trying.  We went on a much needed vacation to escape from our hurt, if only for a few days.  And we told a few more people during this time.  We slowly lifted our self-imposed veil of secrecy and suddenly didn’t feel like we had to lie.  We no longer had to cover up for why I wasn’t drinking alcohol or why we couldn’t attend a family function.  Suddenly almost everyone began to show us compassion and support.  Not everyone was great, but by far most tried to support us.  While they didn’t always get it right, sometimes their words unintentionally left us hurting.  But, almost every single person in our lives tried to support us, and that’s what mattered.

We went on to have a fourth miscarriage.  And a fifth miscarriage.  While going through our fourth loss I started my blog – My Perfect Breakdown.  My world opened up in a way I never knew possible.  My eyes became wide to the suffering that exists within the larger infertility community.  My heart became full with compassion for others suffering and surviving.  My support system now consisted of men and women who get it – people who understand what baby loss is like and what the loss of the family dream is like.  We’ve built cross-country, cross-continent and even cross-world friendships by our common loss solidarity.  Whether we have lost our hopes and our dreams by being unable to achieve a pregnancy or through the miscarriage and stillbirths, we are bound together by our common struggle.

The blogging community taught me that no-matter what, we are never alone unless we want to be. I didn’t realize this at the time, but during our first three losses, I chose to be alone and I chose to suffer in silence.  Outside of our medical team and an amazing counsellor, I did not reach out to anyone for support. I chose to follow the societal norm of suffering in silence, and with hindsight being 20/20 this approach was simply cruel and unnecessary torture.  Now that I know there is a world of compassion, love and support from those who understand, I am beyond thankful.  I take comfort in knowing that I am not alone in any of my feelings, even the ones that hurt deeper than I ever thought possible.

In all of our losses and hurt, I now cherish the fact that I am no longer alone.

Please know that you also do not have to struggle in silence.

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This week is the National Infertility Awareness Week.  While I am not from the USA, I participated last year and again want to add my voice to the collective because this year’s topic, You Are Not Alone is close to my heart.  I believe strongly in the need for infertility and baby loss awareness and advocacy.  Please consider adding your voice and continue to let others know that they are not alone in their struggle.

If you like this post, please feel free to share and please click the follow button on the side or return to myperfectbreakdown.com to follow my journey.

 

49 Comments on “Learning That We Are Not Alone

  1. This is beautiful, and a timely encouragement as I begin actively sharing my fight against physical weakness and obesity – something that has caused me tremendous pain all my life.

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    • I wish you the absolute best in your fight against physical weakness and obesity. Honestly, I think regardless of the exact circumstance being alone is a choice for the most part, and it’s always easier to fight a battle with friends in your corner (P.s. i love that you so often remind me that so many of my IF/RPL struggles extend beyond this circumstance, and are applicable to life in general – you are opening my eyes on a regular basis – thank you).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i think one of the lousy things i’ve had to come to terms with lately is how little support we’ve received from friends, even when we’ve reached out for it. Family has been somewhat better but even they don’t fully understand everything most especially the daily struggle of emotions involved so their comments, even though mostly well intended, end up being unintentionally hurtful. i had to get off FB last week because i couldn’t take the sharing and re-posting of the 10 great things about being a mom type lists. we get it. it wasn’t until i discovered blogs like yours (even though we have never gotten pregnant, so we are not RPL) that i realized that there are women and couples out there who do understand our struggle. so thank you for sharing so much of yourself. it does make a difference.

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    • I so appreciate this comment – we’ve had a mix of both supportive and unsupportive friends and family. We’ve even had one friendship completely end because they didn’t want to participate in this part of our lives for a reason unknown to us. All of this is to say that it’s hard, and it’s so hard when we feel like we cannot get away from all the messages about pregnancy, raising children, etc.
      Like you, the blogging world has become my safe space, my place to go where people get it and where people encourage appropriately. I don’t honestly think it matters at all if you have gone through IF / RPL / Infant loss, etc, I think we are simply bound together by a shared understanding of our lost hopes and dreams. It has become such an incredible part of my life and I am so thankful for all the love and support.

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  3. I am so glad you were able to come out and tell people! I am so glad we are so open with our loss and our struggle in general. Of course there are some people who don’t understand and they never will, but as more of us come out then they will really begin to understand! Hugs!

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  4. The blogging community is an incredible one. A friend of mine (who I know in person), always calls my blog friends my “imaginary” friends, since I don’t see anyone face to face. She thinks virtual support “doesn’t count”. She is very wrong.

    I’m not sure how I came across your blog, but I’m glad I did. I’ve no doubt your space on the Internet serves as a means of comfort & friendship for many who have lived with infertility and even those who haven’t.

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    • I’m with you, I think your friend is wrong. That said, before I started my blog I would have agreed with her! Funny what life has taught me.
      I also have no idea how we came to know each other in the blogging world, but I am so glad we did!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It doesn’t matter how many times I read about your losses, it’s heartbreaking each time. I have been out on fb for awhile now, but did a post about infertility the other day to mark NIAW.

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    • Each time I write about all of our losses, I too feel heartbroken. And I almost always also feel so relieved in our decision to stop putting ourselves through more loss.
      I love that you too have given your voice to support NIAW and raise awareness. Love to you my friend. 🙂

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  6. Thanks for sharing your story, in general, and this post specifically. DH and I were both having a rough day today as our close friends told us they were expecting baby #3. Their 2nd child and our first baby were supposed to be growing up together. We are so happy for them but so sad for ourselves. It helps to know that we are not alone. ❤

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    • Thank you for always supporting me, and encouraging me. I know, if it weren’t for love from you (and others) I would not be able to share the way I do. I am truly grateful for you.
      Also, I’m so sorry that you and DH are processing this news. I’m sorry that you have been passed yet again. I hate feeling like we are falling behind and now being lapped is the worst!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so very thankful for all of you that I’ve found here. I only wish that we all lived close to each other, so that we could share in each other’s day to day lives and be there as actual shoulders to cry on.
    After I decided to announce that we had a miscarriage on Facebook last year, I was amazed at the amount of people who contacted me with their own stories. I don’t understand why it’s kept such a secret, when so many are suffering in silence. If we could just learn to talk about it, even though it’s hard, I think so many people would be able to better deal with these situations. Hugs to all of you, and thanks for being there for me!

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    • I so agree Amy, I totally wish we lived closer! It would be so nice to actually be able to grab a coffee and just talk through all of our bad days (and good days). Heck, right now if we lived closer I’d literally be at your door with Sadie for a visit because she has a sore on her back and Mr. MPB told me I have to wait to see if it gets better before I rush to the vet.
      Also, I am so impressed that you announced on Facebook and did your part to lift the wall of silence. I’m glad people reached out to you and you were able to support each other. Love to you my friend!

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      • Aww thanks! What’s the spot on her back look like? Is she bothering it? You can email me if you want advice! I’d love to be able to just relax and hang out together, we’d have so much fun!
        It took a lot to convince B to go public with everything. He likes to keep things private, I need to talk about things. I’m horrible at keeping secrets, it was hard to keep everything quiet when it consumed our lives. It’s therapeutic for me to talk about everything, plus I think in the long run it will help others too.

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  8. Thank you for sharing this. You’re right, so many suffer silently without support. I am so glad you ( and all of us) have found this community. It saved me in so many ways when I was at my lowest point. Your blog was one of the first ones I found and I was and am so grateful to have such a supportive place to come. Thank you, friend.

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    • Thank you for sharing this comment with me, I am touched. Like you, this community has also saved me at my lowest points, and helped me regain my composure. I am beyond thankful for you, and everyone else I have met. Thank you!

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  9. I said to my husband tonight that I am so grateful for the online community because when I am feeling alone, I just have to turn to the ones who get it, who have been down the path of hurt before me and who show never-ending love and compassion. As much as it sucks not getting much support from friends and family, I am grateful for the new family I’ve found within the infertility and pregnancy loss communities.

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