How to Manage when Things Don’t go as planned | There’s something we want you to know about us

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Today is a special post. It’s not a project – it’s a bit of truth time. A few weeks ago, we were asked to tell our story of how to manage when things don’t go as planned. We were asked to lend our voices to a growing movement in our province of Nova Scotia to help families who are just like we are. We promise that next week, we’ll be back to our DIY posts (I’ve been working away on a few holiday projects!) But you see, behind all the paint and paper, scrap wood and glue – there’s something you should know about us.

I was quite hesitant at first. But I found strength knowing other DIY bloggers have tackled this topic: Shonee from Hawethorne & Maine, Liz Marie Galvan from Liz Marie Blog, Meagan from the Charming Farmer and Tasha from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body. I often remind myself that, despite feeling alone, I am not.

I distinctly remember the conversation. I was probably 12 years old, maybe 13. I was lying on my bed in our old house, staring up at the ceiling, talking on my giant yellow and red phone to a girl in my class. “I think I’ll have my kids when I’m 25. And I’ll have three and it will be perfect.”

She agreed. We picked 25 because for us naive teeny-boppers, it was the Goldilocks age. Young enough to still be cool, old enough to know what we were doing. (Ya, right.) This month, that same girl from grade school gave birth to her fourth beautiful baby. I know that because Facebook told me.

Last week, I think I counted 27 grey hairs on my head. I’ll be 33 in a month. I’ve had three pregnancies. But I have no babies.How we deal with a diagnosis of recurrent miscarriage

You see, sometimes things just don’t turn out as planned. And today, I feel like it’s time that we shared this nugget of truth with you. I was 30 when Dan and I got married. We didn’t even meet until I was 27 – so right away, my plan for children at 25 was foiled. We were both healthy. I was in a terrible job and was stressed out like crazy, but other than that – we were relatively blissful.Erin & Dan

We had no reason to believe that things would go south. Or any idea that when they did, it would have such an impact on our future plans.

The first miscarriage was the worst. It was the worst not because of the depth of loss, which I actually think gets deeper each time; but because of the complete lack of awareness we had for the possibility that it would happen. We were fearless. We told people we were having a baby. We painted a room. We bought story books.  We talked to each other.

Then, one day, as I was interviewing the soon-to-be Premier of our province – the bleeding began and it didn’t stop.

There are somethings about miscarriages that never really get talked about. Like the sheer amount of blood and the pain. As it was happening, I was trying to rationalize how I was still conscious. I was also praying that I’d lose consciousness and not have to live through what I knew was happening.

I am now diagnosed with recurrent kidney stones and recurrent miscarriage. Let me tell you, it’s a toss up over which is more painful. There’s no question which is easier to carry emotionally.Black and White Erin and Dan

There’s this weird moment after you’ve lost a baby. It’s when you’re by yourself, in a quiet room. It’s the same time that when you’re pregnant, you talk to your belly. In that moment, you go to open your mouth to say something soothing, something motherly; and you can’t find your voice. It’s gone- buried in the realization that you’re actually in an empty room and there’s no one to soothe but yourself and ‘news flash’ – you have no motherly voice, because you’re not a mother.

It’s a terrifyingly human moment.

Since the losses and the diagnoses, I cope by bringing myself back to that moment. It sounds silly – but I do it because of all the pregnancy experiences I’ve had, I feel I can control my response to that moment the best. I don’t want to rewrite the joy I felt at the positive pregnancy tests. I don’t want to relive or degrade the devastation each time the radiologist tersely proclaimed the ‘pregnancy was not viable’. Those were real feelings.

But those silent moments after all was said and done – those are the ones I run back through my mind. Those are the ones I want to rewrite.

In my rewrite, instead of losing my voice, I find it. I say ‘good bye’, I say ‘thank you’ and I say ‘you are loved’. I was a mother – even if for 12 weeks. I was somebody’s everything. And those ‘somebodies’, however small they were – have changed everything I know about myself.

It has taken me a long time to get to the point where I can talk about this. I’m not a person who fails at anything. And any woman who has experienced multiple losses can likely agree that there is a certain feeling of ‘failure’ involved. The strength is in rewriting your own story.

I can only imagine the pain and heartache of women and families who never even get to that ‘after all is said and done’ moment. I know it happens. More often than we talk about. I find very small consolation in the fact that I was able to get pregnant three times. Some women can’t. They are even deprived of the feeling of loss. To me, even that’s unfair.

Did you know one in six women lives with infertility? That a woman’s fertility begins to decline at age 28? Four Canadian provinces now offer financial assistance to families seeking InVitro Fertilization – Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Manitoba. A recent study shows Nova Scotia could save more than $11 million over five years by introducing a similar program and 72% of residents agree a program is needed.East Coast Miracles Infographic

Infertility can be caused by a whole bunch of things and sometimes can just be ‘unexplained’. IVF can be the only option for some couples who want to carry a child- and each session can cost as much as $10,000.

We don’t know if IVF is something that we are even eligible for – probably not. But we do know what it feels like to be riddled with fear and worry; concerned that the life you dreamed of just won’t ever happen.

I guess our hope is that all those other couples out there know they aren’t alone. And that, we pray every day that we can rewrite our story.

*This post has been sponsored by the East Coast Miracles – a Nova Scotia infertility patient group dedicated to achieving equitable access to in vitro fertilization treatment for men and women facing fertility challenges. Share your stories and follow along with the movement using the hashtag #IVF4NS.

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24 thoughts on “How to Manage when Things Don’t go as planned | There’s something we want you to know about us

  1. I remember the time I said goodbye to being a mom forever. I was pregnant with twins. One in my uterus and one in my only remaining Fallopian tube. Needless to say, with the fallopian rupture, spontaneous miscarriage ensued. It happened at 22 years old brushing my teeth while on emergency standby surgery. I had twenty four hours to talk about what they would look like, want to be, names, etc. my motherinlaw was the perfect blessing for that 24 hours. My husband could not get off duty for this life event. Less than 3 months later, a total hysterectomy ensued after nonstop bleeding just would not stop. After all the biopsies came back, I was given a diagnosis of endometriosis was given. My doc said it was the worst case he had ever seen in someone so very young. My doc said he was 100% sure I was a DES baby. A drug given to women during pregnancy to prevent morning sickness and miscarriage. It has caused many people, male and female, all sorts of reproductive problems. The drug was very heavily prescribed until the late 70’s. At 22, life as I thought it would be, was never going to be.
    I’m going to be 51 this month and I can only share this; it never, ever goes away but it will lessen over time. The emptiness of never carrying any of my babies is a hole that can only be filled when I get to the promised land and I finally get to see them. God has given me peace in my soul and for that, I am beyond grateful and thankful.
    You are not alone, and please don’t spend the next 30 years tearing yourself apart about this. Take time, love one another and stay strong in one another. It cost me my marriage, don’t let this happen. I can’t remember the exact verse; but it’s close to, mother to none will be mom to many. It is so true. I have no cliches, no wiser words, nothing even close. Just keep lines of communication open, forgive quickly, and hold each other during every step you go through. Good, bad and the worst. Don’t withdraw, delve into each other, pray together, a lot, and give it to God. All of it, 100% give it up to Gods will.
    Please accept my prayers for you both. Sincerely, Hope Williams

  2. Oh Dan & Erin, my heart goes out to you two for sharing something so deeply personal. You two are both so strong. I’m so happy you can be such a strong advocate for something our province needs so desperately. <3 thank you for speaking about loss. It's amazing how many women suffer a loss and don't tell a soul. We shouldn't have to feel like it's something we need to hide or suffer in silence.

    Thank you so much

  3. I’m in awe of your courage for sharing this story and I thank you for doing so. Please know you have made at least one couple feel less alone in this journey. My husband and I have also had three miscarriages (in the last year and a half.) I think the hardest part of it all is that with each one we’ve felt even more isolated. But it’s stories like these that help break that isolation. I’m so sorry we have this in common but I’m grateful that you’ve decided to speak out as this helps to create an awareness. My heart goes out to you and

    1. …I hit send too soon 😉 anyway, one last thought…I read another blog post about loss yesterday and they shared this quote “writing a novel is like driving a car at night in the fog-you can only see as far as your headlights but you can make the whole trip that way” I feel like this journey is like that, too. One day at a time….Sending warm thoughts to you today.

  4. How brave of you to share this deeply personal story. I can’t imagine the torrent of emotions going this multiple times. Take strength in each other, and other families who are in similiar situations. xo

  5. So much love for you two. I can’t even imagine the pain of what you’re going through. I admire the strength and courage that it took for both of you to share your story. Countless lives will be touched and I pray that your story reaches those that so desperately need to hear it.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing! I have had a miscarriage and I didn’t realize how common they were until I went through one myself. Thank you for sharing your story to let others know they aren’t alone. I hope your area can incorporate IVF into a financial assistance program. I think it should be everywhere. My sister was fortunate to conceive two children from IvF. The state of Illinois Offers that same program. You will be in my thoughts and prayers and I will pray for a sticky baby!

  7. I am on “the other side” now – after 10 years of treatment, 5 losses, and countless hours of heartache, we have our one. We still remember with great tenderness the children we lost, and I still have holes in my heart where they should be. It will never go away, and I will never forget. But I will love “our one” more fiercely for it.

    Each path is different, but I hope yours will lead to peace, no matter the terrain. Thank you for lending your voice to a once-silent situation.

  8. Oh Erin I am so sorry. Losing a baby(whether they are full term or not) is a pain I wish no woman ever had to go through. And kidney stones too? They are just as painful, physically. I had a miscarriage earlier this year and it’s still something I think about every day. I hope that there is a way, through IVF or any other way, that you can have a sweet baby that grows in to a crazy toddler and a mom or dad some day too. Hugs!!

  9. I didn’t realize when I opened my email today and clicked to your site that this would be what I was going to read. It’s been 3 years since my last miscarriage (3 total) and though I’ve come to terms with not having a child with my husband, I continue to grieve. For myself, for my husband, for my mother to be a grand again and those who’ve gone through the same thing. Thank you for bringing light to this and the understanding that we are not alone. God bless you!

  10. I had a miscarriage when I was 25, no one knows. It was only about a week after I found out I was pregnant that it happened. But it doesn’t make it any easier. Loss is loss. ❤️

  11. Like yourself I have always dreamed of being a mother, my goals in life were simple I wanted to be a wife and a mother everything else to me was gravy. I too got married at 30 and even though I had planned on having kids earlier I was thrilled to have found my soul mate and we were ready asap as we had dated for 5 years and felt having kids as soon as we were married was ok too. Not the case, I will be 36 in a few short months and have endured failed IVF and countless procedures in our journey to conceive, financially we are totally over extended and have watched doctor after doctor come into the room with what I now call “the look”. The funny thing is our infertility is Male infertility so I figured when the doctor told us about a procedure called ICSI and how much success they have had I was over the moon. Well now I know I am a low responder to the IVF drugs and have not been able to stimulate my body enough to get the eggs we need. Back to the drawing board, as I continue to age at what seems to me a more rapid pace than ever before we are left to make even more decisions about our future and quest to start a family, it can be all consuming. I feel for any couple suffering through infertility, I know what you are going through and that is something I feel only those suffering themselves can say, the pain is so deep and so real and also so unique it almost can’t be put into words, but we are not alone.

  12. I am so sorry that you’ve had to go through this – I am like you and made it to 3 months before losing a child – the way I reacted – since I was in my late 30’s when it happened was to go out and get fixed so I’d never have to go through that experience again – I’m glad you haven’t given up the thought of bringing a combination of you and Daniel into the world – the world does need more genetic combinations like that – until then – dogs are completely adequate.

  13. Oh Erin. This touched and broke my heard so much. My heart breaks for you. And it brings me back. I have been pregnant five times, but I only have three babies. Those miscarriages still sit with me and at times like this, I still grieve. But I also don’t want to compare because I have babies too. And that makes me so sad at how unfair the world is sometimes.

  14. You are so brave to share your story and be open in this way. I can only imagine how difficult this is and I know that your story will help others in a profound way to cope.1 in 6? I had no idea it was so common.

  15. I am in tears for your, and all of those of you in the same situation. I am 64 and had 2 miscarriages and 1 still birth before I was lucky enough to carry a baby boy to full term. That was a long, arduous and worrisome pregnancy.

    Like you I had THE plans and it all went awry when I was 28 and back in those days you were given no time to grieve for your ‘lost’ baby. I was unprepared for this to happen and was taken into hospital where they put me in a room (this was 70’s UK NHS) with girls waiting for abortions. I was told off for being emotional and to go home and try again. Depression loomed.

    My tears? Mainly for me and the 3 children I nearly had. I loved them all and miss them dreadfully, all these years later but it also made me strong and I coped with my dream being whittled down to one wonderful, adorable baby who is now starting on his own adventures and going, I hope, to present me with grandchildren.

    Be patient, hard though it might be and even if your ‘clock’ is ticking, as science is constantly improving.

    Good luck to you all.

    I hope my brief tale will help some of you.

  16. My darling children, please know that you are never, ever alone. We feel your pain and your grief. Take comfort in your love for each other, and never give up hope.
    We love you both very much, draw strength from our love.
    Nana Tazz and Boompa xoxo

  17. Erin – personally knowing how hard it is to put this information out for the world to see, I hope and mourn with you at the same time. I would love to say that the feeling of loss goes away but it stays even when you have the most wonderful child in the world sleeping in your arms. If you and Dan do decide to go through IVF, please feel free to reach out to us – I never imagined how comfortable I would feel speaking with anyone about butt needles and stirrups….

  18. I too have had three pregnancies and no babies. My heart aches for you. I actually just started a blog about RPL and IVF and I’d love whatever insight you may have, and I’d be flattered for you to check it out: threelittlebeans.com

    Thank you for sharing your story and your strength.

    Kelly

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