“I Was Blaming Myself Because I Was The One Carrying The Baby.”

Bec and her partner have been together for 18 years. They travelled to Europe together and had the most amazing time. When they got back home to Perth, her partner J, finally confessed to Bec that he really wanted to be a Dad. She was a little bit surprised at first, but she embraced the thought of having a child with the man she loved. She went off the Pill, and fell pregnant with their beautiful daughter Kayla. Bec was 32.

Since having Kayla, Bec suffered 3 miscarriages, all within 8 months between each other.

She was 11 weeks pregnant when she had her first miscarriage at home. It was on a Thursday, and because she doesn’t work on Thursdays, she was so thankful she was home at the time it actually happened. She felt awful; she felt it was an “absolute nightmare”. She sat at home and cried her eyes out.

Her daughter Kayla, who was about 2 at the time, tried to comfort Bec by wiping her tears off her face. “What’s wrong Mummy, what’s wrong?”

J’s sister babysat Kayla, while him and Bec went to the Emergency Department.

“Well, we got back late that night, so the first thing I did was have a beer!” she chuckled. “I haven’t had a drink for a while, and you know what, (I thought) bugger this, I’m having a drink. We were stuck in the emergency department for ages and all the nurses kept asking me if I was okay. But no one really pays attention to your partner.” And when they got home, Bec asked J, “How are YOU? How you going?” He had just lost a kid as well. They chatted for the rest of the night, then told the rest of the family about it the next day and they were all really supportive.

Bec didn’t handle the miscarriage all that well. She started drinking a lot and doing “stupid things”. She thought she was okay, but she knew deep down, she really wasn’t. It was only after a few months later that she realised she wasn’t dealing with life all too well and so she decided to get counselling. It helped her, though she didn’t think it would at first.

“I was always against that sort of thing. I always thought how can someone who doesn’t know you, would have any clue how to help you?”

But when she started speaking to someone about it, “She helped me realize it was basically a self-confidence thing. I felt it was my fault that it happened and without realizing it, I was blaming myself because I was the one carrying the baby. (She taught) self-love, and the ‘look in the mirror thing and tell yourself you love yourself thing’. I still find that difficult to do!” she laughs. She started keeping a diary to get all her feelings out, instead of bottling it all inside her.

Her next two miscarriages, were just as awful. Since then, she’d been to the gynecologist and did all the tests, but there was nothing physically wrong with her or J. “There’s no REAL reason why it’s happening.”

I asked Bec how J coped with all the miscarriages. “Pretty good, he probably went a bit into himself but he does that anyway. He’s quite the introvert. He tried to be as supportive as he can for us. But he never blamed me for it or anything like that, I was doing enough of that to myself!” And J would always say, “We’re in it together, it’s crap for the BOTH of us.”

“We put it down to nature. Obviously there was something wrong with them. For some reason, they weren’t quite right and nature was looking after all of us as a family. So we are kinda looking at it like that, maybe it’s for the best.”

“Did it bring you and J closer?” I asked.

“Yes, especially right after it’s happened. Because really, we both lost another chance of being a parent again. It makes us appreciate Kayla more too! She might be our only one… And she’s pretty perfect so we can’t complain!” she giggled.

What Do You Want The World To Know?

“When people say you’ll get used to it, you don’t. It’s a LIFE you’re never gonna meet. You do sort of start planning and how they’re gonna be different or the same to what Kayla was. Are they gonna play together?”

“And they’re not gonna be there anymore. But I’ll always remember them. I’m always gonna remember the days I lost those three. I’ve lost what ‘could’ve been’. In some ways, it gets harder because you really don’t think if it’s gonna keep happening. And then it does. And then I think how and why does it keep happening to me? If you DO fall pregnant again, you’re constantly paranoid for that first 3 months – that you’re going to lose it again. You’re supposed to have this glow and excitement that your child is going to have another sibling, and instead; every time you go to the toilet, you look straight at the toilet paper, you’re waiting to see if there’s any spots, or something that’s not supposed to be there. You’re constantly in fear that it’s going to happen again. It’s something you’re supposed to be quietly celebrating but instead, you’re just paranoid. You think it’s not gonna happen again, and then it does, and then you think it can’t possibly happen again. And it does.” She throws her hands up in the air, “And I think WHY is this happening to me?”

“I’m obviously not alone. I realized that after reading your blog. You do kinda feel sometimes that you’re the only person that this keeps happening to. You know people who have had one or two miscarriages but you don’t usually come across any more than that. So you kinda feel alone. And that’s just not the case. And since reading your blog, I’ve realized there are a lot of people who are going through it. Don’t give up. You’re not alone. We will have to give up eventually because we’re not getting any younger. We are going to keep trying until early next year, otherwise just one (child) it is!”

Bec has been given a prescription for progesterone for when she does fall pregnant again. And when she does, the first thing she has to do is to take them, then see a gynecologist straight away. They will start monitoring her “right from the get go”. She will have to get scans straightaway, and whatever else they deem necessary, in the hopes she doesn’t suffer yet another miscarriage again.

 

My Thoughts

I wish Bec, J and Kayla all the best in their journey to expanding their family. Whatever the outcome, they will always have each other’s support, including support from their family and their closest friends. I hope Bec’s story will help others who have suffered miscarriages and know that whatever emotional turmoil they are going through, that they are certainly not alone.


Advertisements

“The best people let me talk without judgement and without pity”

IMAG4763

Donna contacted me through my website www.120fingersandtoes.com and requested for me to interview her. She wanted me to help share her experience with postnatal depression and how she learnt to overcome it. Donna is a wife and a mother of two children. And before she had their first baby, she suffered 5 miscarriages.

Postnatal Depression

Donna discovered she suffered from postnatal depression roughly around 8 months after the birth of their first child. Her baby had to be breastfed every 2 hours, 24 hours a day. She said she felt angry all the time and was constantly tired and frustrated. Her baby would cry and wanted to get picked up but Donna would get angry at her. Her husband would say to her, “You can’t talk to her like that…” And that would make Donna even angrier.

She felt very isolated, and that no one understood what she was going through. She felt like everyone was seeing it very differently to how she saw things… “But I was the one seeing it differently, I guess.” Although she felt like she had a very good support network, she felt she had no one around to help her. But she knew it wasn’t how they were, she knew it was how she was feeling. There’s been times when she’s thought, “They’d all be better off without me, I’m ruining everything.”

Donna also experienced a lot of anxiety. “If I had to see anyone out of my normal routine, I’d get really stressed out about it, then I’d pick a fight with my husband, hoping he’d say ‘right, we’re not going.'”

Donna’s husband, mum and sister were very concerned. They all suggested for her to see a doctor. She laughed, as she recalled what she thought at the time, “Fine, I’ll go see somebody and prove them wrong!” So she went to the doctor…. and bawled her eyes out! After talking to Donna, her doctor spoke to her husband to make sure she would get home safely. She felt bad, that people thought she was suicidal and would hurt the baby. She said she can now understand how some women could be driven to do certain things, just out of sheer desperation and exhaustion. We both talked about how we heard that exhaustion is used in criminal warfare as one of their torture tactics!

She recalled a time when her first child was about 13 months old. Her baby would cry and Donna would scream and swear at her. She then thought to herself, “Oh my god, why am I talking like this? Then I would feel really guilty, sit there and bawl my eyes out for hours. This child is going to learn to be this way and I realized I was being a bully to her.” Donna recalled another time when, out of anger, she wanted to say something to hurt her husband. So she said, “You know, last night, I thought about leaving you.” Only to have her husband reply, “You know I thought about leaving you too.” She laughed, saying, “Are you serious? I thought… Shit, I’m that much of a bitch, he’s going to leave me! I was just being a bitch to get him upset! That really upset me.”

IMAG4777

Support

Donna says she now sees a very good psychiatrist, one who has shown her different ways to deal with her feelings, taught her how to cope and change her way of thinking. She’s taught her to see what’s really important in the grand scheme of things (does the house REALLY need to be super clean when someone comes over?). She felt that talking to her psychiatrist has been very liberating for her. She also meditates and when times are stressful, she’s found that reciting the Lord’s Prayer over and over again, has had a very calming effect on her.

Donna also takes medication to help with her PND. She takes 10mg of Escitalopram a day. She giggled and called them her “Non-psycho pills!” “So many people say you shouldn’t be on medication, ‘You don’t need it’. I’m like, well, clearly I do! I figure if I’ve got a headache, I’ll take an aspirin…. if you’re not feeling well, take something to make you feel better.”

“I couldn’t have asked for a better husband.” Donna’s husband is very patient. Having learnt from their first baby, when they had their second, he did a lot of the night time feeds, made sure Donna got enough sleep and was looked after (awwwwwww!! *applause*). She also has a very good group of friends that support her. She’ll never forget that one of her friends had said to her (after Donna started on her medication), “I didn’t realize how ‘NOT’ Donna you were until I’ve seen you on your tablets, and how ‘back to normal’ you are now. I didn’t realize how sad you really were.”

IMAG4785

What Do You Want The World To Know?

“It is OK to talk about how bad you feel. Nothing is ever too bad that it can’t be fixed or helped. Postnatal (depression) does not discriminate, it hits the strongest and the weakest, it hits the confident as much as those who have little confidence, hits first timers and those with one or more kids. You have no idea it’s coming and often no idea it’s there. But boy, does it play games with your mind and your life.”

“Women are strong, we can endure many things but the best way to heal is to talk and to have support. No matter what was said to me during my times of sadness after losing a baby, it was helpful. The best people let me talk without judgement and without pity. And remember your partner is going through it too.”

Thoughts

If you met Donna for the very first time like I did, you would not have thought she suffered from PND. She is funny, bubbly and so full of life. Every woman going through PND, while they experience similar feelings, are all in different situations and circumstances. And we all use different ways to cope with it.

Thanks Donna, for sharing with us your experience and I hope someone out there going through it may try one or all of your methods of coping. Donna, I wish you and your family all the best!! Oh, and thank you for taking the time out on your birthday to see me!!

You Shouldn’t Say, “Oh, it must get easier because you’re used to it.”

13329824_10207848854952157_77143424_n (1)

This is an incredible story of a strong woman who went through difficult pregnancies, nearly 10 years of IVF, had 12 miscarriages and suffered the agony of endometriosis and postnatal depression. This is how she overcame it all through persistence and refusing to listen to any negativity.

Baby #1

When Meghan fell pregnant with Baby #1 (now Mr 13), she had a very bad time throughout her whole pregnancy. She had to be in hospital for the whole 9 months. At 6 months, she was able to leave the hospital but unfortunately, she was in her parent’s car and a lady hit the back of their car, which caused Meghan to bleed. And as a result, she was right back in hospital again for the next 3 months.

Meghan had Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a complication in pregnancy that is more severe than morning sickness, where she experienced severe nausea, vomiting and weight loss. Within the first 3 months of her pregnancy, she went from 50 kg, down to 40 kg. The birth was very traumatic, she lost so much blood, that there was a blood clot the size of half her placenta. Her obstetrician had to “rip him out” because the baby’s heartbeat stopped several times as he was arriving into the world. This resulted in Meghan getting 68 stitches. Yep, you read that right, folks. 68 stitches. No drugs. 

Between Baby #1 and Baby #2

When Baby #1 turned a year old, Meghan and her husband decided to try for Baby #2. However, Meghan’s periods were very painful, and her doctors suggested that it was her appendix that was causing the pain. She saw 8 different doctors and it was only the 8th doctor (who happened to be the only female doctor out of them all) that sent Meghan to see a pediatrician. It was then, when she discovered she suffered from endometriosis. It was the third worst case the specialist doctor had ever seen in his whole entire career! She had it surgically removed, and while she was told that it would take at least 6 years for it to potentially grow back again, it ended up coming back 6 months later. She had no choice but to get it surgically removed a second time. 

They then started AIH (Artificial Insemination by Husband) for a few years. Meghan’s endometriosis had damaged her tubes, therefore also damaging her eggs as they moved down her tubes. Furthermore, she had a blood disorder, where she had to have injections on her stomach everyday to thin her blood.

Between Baby #1 and Baby #2, Meghan suffered 12 miscarriages, went through AIH, FET (Frozen Embryo Transfers) and IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) before finally falling pregnant to Baby #2, 6 long and hard years later. And it had cost them nearly $40,000.

Baby #3

Baby #3 was conceived using Meghan’s 4 frozen embryos. The first two didn’t take, so she requested to put the next 2 in together, and to hope for the best. 1 didn’t take, and 1 survived – Hello, Baby #3! Meghan suffered Hyperemesis Gravidarum again but because it was detected early, she was given the appropriate drugs to help her through it. She again had to have 2 injections a day on her stomach (blood thinners) throughout the whole pregnancy. She said she was so bruised from the injections, that she looked just like a druggie!

The 12 Miscarriages

At the time, Meghan said couldn’t tell her husband about some of the miscarriages as he didn’t know how to show much emotion. When she was hurt, he would hurt too… but… he didn’t know how to express that.

“Those pregnancies never got past 6 weeks. It was hard…. (pause) it was hard.”

“People used to say stupid things like ‘Oh, it must get easier because you’re used to it.’ IT DOESN’T. Your anxiety grows. Your stress increases and stress can also cause miscarriages….. Every tinge, every non-movement, with everything, I was thinking… oh my god, oh my god, oh my god… I was always in and out of hospital getting tested to see if everything’s alright.”

My Postnatal Depression

“I had postnatal depression after I had (Baby #1). I had friends that fell pregnant and didn’t want to tell me and that would hurt, because they knew how hard I was trying to have a baby. That hurt because I’m not that sort of person that would think negative of you for a good situation. My best friend couldn’t tell me she was pregnant until she was 6 months pregnant…. It was really hurtful, I would’ve wanted to be there for her.”

When asked what she didn’t like people to say to her – “I didn’t want to hear ‘You’ll be right.’, ‘Just give it another go.’, ‘It’ll happen.’, ‘You’ve got one, don’t worry!’. I knew them, I didn’t want to hear that every time.”

My Husband

What I noticed when talking to Meghan, was the love and respect she had for her husband. She talked in such a manner where many women, would not have had the same resoluteness when talking about their significant others.

When Meghan was pregnant with Baby #2, her husband could not acknowledge the pregnancy for the first three months because he saw her in pain all the time. “When I was in pain, HE was in pain.”

“10 years of IVF, he never once told me to stop. Never told me it cost too much. Never told me it was causing problems. He was by my side through everything. Out of everybody, he was MY ROCK. He let me do, what I needed to do.”

My Worst Day

Meghan recalled having to pick Child #1 up early from school to get her IVF done. His teacher saw them leaving and asked “Oh where are you off to?” 

And he answered, “We’re going to the hospital so my Mummy can have a baby put in, because I broke her tummy.” 

She told me she had never said anything like that to him before but, “his little brain and his little perspective was that he broke my tummy. THAT broke my heart. My little boy thinking it was HIS fault.”

My Hysterectomy

“That was hard… Trying to get my brain around the fact that I could never have children again… If I lost my husband or we broke up, he can go and have children with someone else. I can’t. If I lost a child, I cant’ have another one. Getting my brain around it was very hard.”

She was petrified about the surgery. But as soon as she healed, she no longer had the desire to have another baby. “Done, dusted. Best decision I ever made.”

What Do You Want The World To Know?

“Keep trying. You’ll get there in the end. It took me 10 years to get what I wanted, but I didn’t give up. And I didn’t listen to negativity. And I pushed and pushed and I got what I wanted. Don’t give up.”

13340367_10207848853712126_882133110_o

Thoughts

It was amazing and inspiring to talk to Meghan. To have been through so much physical and emotional pain, and still kept on trying, it is such an inspiration to us all. She’s taught me that irregardless of what the universe throws at you, you must do your best to overcome all obstacles.

This also shows us the importance of having a husband or partner that can stand by you through all of this. This couple should be an example to all couples going through the fertility treatment process. Stand by your woman. Be her rock.

Thank you Meghan, for allowing me to interview you. I hope this article will help those who are going through IVF and had miscarriages, to know… they’re not alone.

 

 

“I had 3 miscarriages and suffered Postnatal Depression”

This is my article about Joanne (*not her real name). Joanne had 3 miscarriages and suffered postnatal depression and now she suffers from high anxiety. She has 2 sons, one aged 4 and the other is 9 months.

When I interviewed Joanne, she was fairly nervous as it was hard for her to talk about her feelings. It’s not surprising, for most women in her position. But thankfully, she found courage to talk to me, and I’d like to think it’s kinda because I bribed her with cake *wink wink*.

What caused your postnatal depression and anxiety?

Joanne  tragically had 3 miscarriages. And when she fell pregnant with her second son, she experienced a high level of anxiety, wondering everyday if she was going to lose this baby. She was worried that the steroids she was taking for her pregnancy, would affect her baby inside her (These steroids were known to cause cleft palates/lips). She understood that in the grand scheme of things, a cleft palate was nothing to worry about as long as she had a healthy baby. But she still couldn’t help feeling anxious about it. Wouldn’t you feel the same? And to make things just a little harder, her husband was, and still isn’t, providing a supportive role in their marriage.

When the younger son was born, for two months, all he did was cry. And there was nothing Joanne could do to comfort him or  help calm him down. She found out later that he had ‘silent reflux’. Her doctor, at the time, even told her that there was nothing wrong with her baby as he was putting weight on. Her baby boy cried non-stop, was so clingy and she felt she couldn’t cope. And yet, she carried so much guilt, she felt she should be grateful for having him, since she’s had so many miscarriages.

“I was feeling TOTALLY alone… I felt so alone.”

Continue reading →