So, the last few months have clearly been all about working to accept my situation, make the most of what we have and live a healthy life. On the whole, I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job of it.
But, then there was yesterday afternoon.
I had a breakdown.
Seriously, barely able to speak between giant horrible sobs with alligator tears streaming down my face faster than the water rushing over the Niagara Falls. It was an epic breakdown. There was absolutely nothing perfect about this breakdown.
So, what sent me off the deep end?
My Employment Insurance (EI) claim. I’ve been expecting for a few months now that my application would get denied/rejected and I would have to endure an appeal. So, after a few weeks of procrastination, I finally worked up the nerve to sign in to the website and check-out the status of my application. Low and behold, I found out that they still have not received my Record of Employment (ROE) from my former employer and therefore cannot make a decision. My rational brain should have recognized that really, this is a good thing. I haven’t been denied, they are just needing more information that should have been submitted months ago.
But, no, my rational brain was not in control. My mind went straight to why the fuck can’t anything go right. Seriously, my old company couldn’t even submit something that is a legal requirement, and now I’m left having to chase everyone. I was prepared for a rejection, I was not prepared for bullshit cattle herding.
And once I let the why the fuck can’t anything go right voice enter and take-over, it was all downhill from there. The list of everything that has gone wrong in the last 2 years took over. My poor husband, I’m sure he thought I had lost my mind, and in his typical way he tried to calm me down, tried to rationalize with me as though I was a rational person (this of course was doomed to fail, simply because I wasn’t thinking in a rational way), he tried to refocus me on the positives that have happened in the last few months. (He tried so hard, and even though he had no hope of succeeding with me in the moment, it was and is so amazing that he stops what he is doing and tries to help me). I would have none of it, and instead between tears I started spewing off my list of horrible things that have happened in the last few years:
- 5 miscarriages and the doctors don’t even count the most recent biochemical one. In their eyes, it’s only 4. But who the fuck cares, either way, it’s more dead babies then I ever wanted! And my number is five, even if the doctors don’t count it.
- If we don’t count the biochemical pregnancy, then we’ve now have 4 failed cycles – 4! We have never had 4 straight failed cycles trying to get pregnant. NEVER! For me, this is an eternity, and for me, I’m now afraid we are facing more infertility stuff on top of RPL. What if we now cannot even get pregnant? I’m not even ready to start the road into IUI’s and IVF. What if that’s what’s in store for us next?!
- My body has been put through complete and utter hell over the last 2 years. I don’t look or feel like the same person I once was.
- I left my job so we can try one more pregnancy without any stress, and look where that has gotten us. What was the point of all of this? So we can be significantly more broke? So that I can sit at home and do nothing? So that I can spend my days fighting with private medical insurance companies who deem me too high risk to cover anything pregnancy or mental health related? So that I can mow the lawn during the week and walk the dog during the day? So that I can fight with the Government of Canada to try to get EI based on medical need? And, now I get to go spend hours waiting at one of the local offices to try and submit the hard-copy ROE since apparently my old company cannot submit it electronically correctly (why they have and pay for an HR department is beyond me). Fun times, 4 hours waiting in a room with uncomfortable chairs squished uncomfortably close to strangers, I’m so excited (I hope you can sense the seething sarcasm in this last sentence).
- My old company cannot even submit a simple legally required document to make my life a little bit easier! Is that company just out to try and kill me with stress?! WTF!! That was one of the reason I left! Any time that company comes up, it just stresses me right out and always ends up with me upset for something that should never even be an issue.
- My identity has always been one of success. Not normal people success, but huge and significant sometimes epic successes for someone my age! Personal successes, and professional successes. You name it, that’s how my life has been defined. And now, that’s gone. My old company never valued my successes and most definitely never recognized them (i.e. bringing in more contracts and therefore more money than senior staff on my team, completing significant projects on time, on budget and within scope, completing an advanced university certificate, etc.). And on the persona side, I’m leading a life surrounded by failure. Even if I don’t blame myself for our miscarriages, the fact is, we have dead babies, not living babies. Procreation should result in life, not death. I am a stay at home wife, not a stay at home mother. I am writing, but no-one in my real life is aware that I’m even working on writing. I have lost my old identity and I’m struggling to find a new public identity.
- This adoption stuff is bullshit – this was never supposed to be the way we were going to have children. Now we are supposed to be evaluating decisions like getting a potential crack-baby quickly versus waiting years to get a healthy child (assuming the birth mother hasn’t lied in her application). Or adopting an international child with a physical disability so that we can reduce the wait time? Who the fuck makes these decisions?! And how the heck are we supposed?
- My husband broke his ankle, so now our summer plans are completely changed, oh and lets not negate the fact that he is in pain and is suffering. He’s gimped, and I’m responsible for everything that requires 2 working legs.
I’M TIRED OF ALL THE BULLSHIT.
I’M TIRED OF THE EMOTIONAL SHIT KICKING WE’VE BEEN ENDURING.
Yet, what set me off, was something that is really not a big deal, but I managed to turn it into a massive deal. I used to look at something like dealing with government paperwork as normal BS, that didn’t even phase me. My typical attitude towards life has been to overcome against all odds. I persevere and I succeed.
Instead, I went into a complete downward spiral. Something like this shouldn’t even phase me and yet today it caused me to fall apart.
I started writing this post once I started to calm down, probably about an hour after my breakdown.
No, I’m not happy, but I’m okay.
I’m able to recognize what bothered me, and I’m able to recognize that my response wasn’t rational, I know that I cannot control everything (even though I desperately want to). But, at the end of the day I’m tired.
I want a life of success back. What I’ve always known is that hard work = success. I want to recreate the fact that hard work resulted in success. This is how I’ve lived my entire life up until now, and now that hard work will in no way impact the outcome I’m frustrated and I’m tired. I’m so incredibly tired.
I feel like for 2 years now I’ve been ramming my head against a wall without any successful results. Somehow, all I can picture right now is this old quote and its starting to feel pretty accurate:
Yet, I know this quote isn’t actually accurate for us – we have made massive lifestyle change to promote a different result. And here we are with nothing to show for it. What other changes can we make? What can we do to overcome our unexplained diagnosis? I still want to find a way, yet I know we won’t be able to.
And, one more revelation coming out of today is that as much as this was an ugly not so perfect breakdown, it was what it was. And the very fact that I allowed myself to go there, and recover from it in a relatively short time frame, might just mean that it is actually part of living messy and therefore a healthy part of my perfect breakdown. Part of accepting that not everything is perfect, and accepting strong emotions and dealing with them in a healthy way.
So, I will conclude by saying that honestly, I know there are hard days and there are good days. For us, the good days far outweigh the bad ones. So, I know we will persevere and we will continue to hope. One more try, then we re-evaluate. One step at a time. One day at a time.
Somehow, as I write this, the old (1997) song by Chumbawamba has crept into my mind. It seems perfectly fitting for my RPL journey and the perfect way to end this post:
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I haven’t talked too much on my blog about the relationship I have with my dad and my step-mom. I love them dearly, sometimes they appear to try their best to be part of our lives, and other times they don’t seem to be involved or care much at all. It is not always a perfect relationship, but I am thankful that they are part of our lives. But, this is not the point of today’s post – although I’m sure it’s a topic you will all get to read more about one day.
I come from a family of highly educated, scientific thinkers who are struggling to understand and accept the unexplained nature of our situation. Of course, my husband and I are as well, but we’ve also spent hours with multiple doctors asking questions; multiple conversation with our doctor friends asking even more questions; days/weeks internet searching; and countless hours/days/weeks trying to find a solution through any means possible. This of course has brought us to a relatively good place in our acceptance of not having an answer, and likely not getting one based on current technology and research while we are still of child bearing age. So, while we work to accept our reality, others don’t understand just how much energy we’ve put into accepting this situation. (Don’t get me wrong, there are still moments of frustration, days of desperation wanting an answer, and the odd google search looking for more information). Ultimately, if we could have an answer tomorrow we’d gladly take it, but we understand that this is unlikely.
Anyways, my Dad called today to talk about our “situation.” He informed me that he called my mom’s sister (my Aunt) the other day. Our families are not particularly close, nor have they ever been, even when my mom was alive. Anyways, my Aunt and Uncle never had children, and my Dad asked her very overtly why they never had kids. He thought it might help my husband and I to know more of our family history, maybe there is something genetic going on that could help our doctors turn our unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss into explained recurrent pregnancy loss. Long story short, it turns out they made a life choice not to have children. They took all the steps necessary to ensure children did not happen – i.e. tubes tied. Then, an unplanned and very much unexpected pregnancy occurred. At the first ultrasound everything was fine, and the baby had a healthy heart rate. Then, a few weeks later at the next ultrasound the baby was dead. So, while we now know exactly what the story is behind my Aunt and Uncle did not having children, I also know that it will not help explain our situation. Simply, they had only the one miscarriage which is statistically completely normal from a biology perspective (although, of course, it will never feel normal to any parents to be), so I know the new information won’t help our doctors.
After that first conversation, he also asked me about my thyroid. Apparently, he knows someone who had a few miscarriages and then discovered a thyroid issue. Once diagnosed and controlled they went on to have a few perfectly healthy children. He knows I had a thyroid issue years ago, so he thought maybe it could be my thyroid. I had to break to the news to him, that while I do have hypothyroidism, my thyroid is completely controlled by medication and I have never had a fluctuation occur since it was diagnosed in 2009 which was found through routine blood work, and was also found years before we even started trying to have children. In fact, I’ve been on the exact same dose of synthroid (the smallest dose available) since my diagnosis. And, the doctors are constantly monitoring my thyroid the second we are pregnant. So, I had to explain that well yes, an uncontrolled thyroid problem can cause miscarriages, in our circumstance where it is completely controlled and monitored, it simply isn’t the culprit.
So, more than anything, what struck me about this is that my Dad is trying to find a solution for us. Unfortunately, his ideas won’t make a difference for us or our doctors, but at least he tried! He didn’t say something stupid from the list of stupid things people have said to us (available here). What is amazing is that my dad is trying and he is trying in the best way he knows.
So, while I had to tell him that all his ideas and thoughts were not beneficial, I am so happy he tried. And the very fact that my Dad has talked with people that he comes across who may hold the key to our problem, was a pleasant surprise. Somehow it just felt like he tried to connect with me, and is trying to help us out in his own way.
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