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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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Kelly

Wednesday 6th of January 2016

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

Meagan B.

Sunday 29th of November 2015

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....

paula schuck

Saturday 21st of November 2015

I loved this post and I thank you for sharing your journey. This is beautifully written and so full of heart and passion. You are far from alone.

Nana Tazz

Friday 20th of November 2015

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

Sue

Friday 20th of November 2015

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.

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