J’s Story: The Hardest Decision of All

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This a beautiful guest post written by a client of mine about the VERY difficult decision many couples struggling with infertility loss or recurrent miscarriage face: the decision to stop trying to conceive. I wanted to share this perspective as part of my series of blog posts in honour of Early Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month.  If you missed those video blogs, you can access them, and my first guest blogger’s story, here.  WARNING: Content may trigger if you have suffered miscarriage.

J’s story:

We’ve decided not to have any more children.

The waves have grown smaller. The storm of my 20’s & 30’s has passed and for now my little boat sails happily along. On occasion it doesn’t take much to unsettle it. Seeing a baby, going to toy stores, a new pregnancy or birth announcement, tiny socks… Siblings.

Some days the wave rolls by without too much trouble and other days I have to steer my way through it yet again – but I’m a good captain now.

There have been dragonflies near me ever since the losses and I decide they know the secret. The saga that we keep to ourselves and I keep to myself. They are my comfort.

We’ve decided not to have any more children.

I watched a Vblog today and I let some of the pain go with it. Then I went for a walk to buy a toy for our daughter and I see a dragonfly scarf.

I say: “I don’t need a bag”

The clerk replies: “Oh, you’re going to wear it?”

Me: “No.” (Screaming inside)

Honestly, I’ll probably never wear it. But at the same time I wear it every day. It’s always with me. Like a scar. At first you hate it but it becomes a part of who you are and now I wear it a little more comfortably…I don’t say this out loud of course…I’ll probably tuck it in a drawer and once in a blue moon hold it too tightly as I ride out the storm again. I don’t make eye contact. I keep looking upward and lifting and tightening my eyes so they don’t spring a leak. Honestly it is a lot easier now.

We knew the miscarriage was coming we just didn’t know when. I was able to take time off work and wait it out. Our daughter wasn’t even a year old yet. She is perfect and we are perfect.

We’ve decided not to have any more children.

A couple of miscarriages prior and a couple after, and at 41 I have stepped off the roller coaster. We needed to heal and move on. 

I was visiting my mother and I felt the all too familiar tightening in my core. I knew I had a little time and with a one hour drive ahead I made an excuse to get her home for a nap. No one knew.  They still don’t. I couldn’t bear my usual responsibility of being everyone else’s rock in top of keeping myself upright.

Things progressed as we drove and at one point I felt a sudden drop inside me. At less than 13 weeks I assumed things wouldn’t be too difficult. I rushed home to get myself situated and comfortable. I know when I get out of the car and stand up it’s going to be bad. I needed to get inside but had to get her out of her car seat, inside, and into her playpen so I could get to the bathroom.

Hold everything in mentally and physically.

It’s like a movie to me now. Pop into the bathroom, clean up what looks like a horror show, then step back out and get a bottle ready, feed the dog and put some cartoons on the TV – I won’t ruin her with a little screen time and today I just need to make things easy. I probably cooked supper and participated in the bedtime routine.

I can’t remember.

The waves are four times the size of my boat and I’m steering the ship, manning the galley and cracking sarcastic jokes. The storm was unrelenting, I’m on the table in the hospital looking through my knees at the physician and the very funny one liners just keep coming and coming out of me – just like the miscarriage. “Your hemoglobin has dropped 30% do you want to stay the night?”. “No I should get home so my husband can go to work in the morning — I’ll be fine….”. I’ve seen this storm before. I know how to navigate my way through it.

It’s the same pattern again, the scheduling the timing, the unknown territory for a few weeks, the elation and immediate need to get the blood tests, the ultrasound, the googling, the incessant analysis of the hCG charts and the ‘what ifs’, hearing the news that the levels are slow “here take these pills”. Do I keep working? Do I eat that? Do I supplement that?

The waves come faster and faster now and I’m challenging Mother Nature to ”bring it” because I’ve been here before and I’ve got this…. and the levels drop and I’ve got this… and our daughter is crying because she’s hungry and I’ve got this… and I think maybe my liver just came out of my uterus and I’ve got this…. and they want to measure my hemoglobin to see if I can come back to work and I’ve got this…. and my brother in law announces they’re pregnant and I’ve got this…. and time passes and the storm passes and I’m still afloat but my ship is tired. I can’t ask it of her anymore….so we don’t go out into open ocean these days.

We’ve decided not to have anymore children.

We spend our days – when the weather is warm and the bay is calm – exploring close to home. There’s less potential for discovery and greatness but we enjoy the inward discovery of smaller things now. Watching our daughter grow, enjoying some career success, Netflix and chill…..

And that’s ok too….

It’s our life now.

We decided not to have anymore children.

It’s not my fault.

It’s ok to step off.

I’ve got this too….

 

 

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