Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Faith Is Not An F Word

AF arrived today. A day earlier than usual actually. I started spotting yesterday so I knew what was coming. I'm not really sad, although the blood does remind me of what I don't have. I just want to go forward with our plan. Protocol for this cycle is 100mg Clomid, CD5-9, with a trigger at O. Same as my BFP cycle. We shall see if I will be as lucky this time around.

To add insult to injury, as I was driving on my lunch break today, I noticed a car in front of me with a license plate that read "Mom 2 5". Snarkily, I said to myself, "good for you, lady!" Does the world really give a shit that you have 5 kids? Blame it on the PMS.


You're probably wondering how the memorial service went on Sunday. DH and I were on edge the whole way there. The entire day really. We were both tense and not too sure what to expect. We wound up getting lost on the way to the church and our GPS went wacky due to low satellite signal so all of our tension and frustration culminated into an argument. DH couldn't believe I didn't print backup directions. I thought it would be a wasted effort when our $500 GPS is supposed to be so freakin' accurate. That's when DH responded with,"well, [the service] must not have been that important to you". Not important to me? Was he kidding? I was in complete shock and disbelief that he would say that to me. I told him that was a shitty thing to say as we were on our way to a service to commemorate our lost children. He apologized but emotions were running high.

My friend Holly and her mom were there waiting for us as we arrived at the church, 20 minutes late. I felt so ashamed. I was late to my babies' memorial service. How bad of a mother could I possibly be? I tried to put it out of my mind and focus on the pastor's words.

They showed video clips of movies and documentaries about miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS and abortion. Right after we arrived, they showed the clip about miscarriage. They showed an ultrasound picture with a little baby in the womb. Little baby clothes. Making plans. And then finding out the heartbeat is gone. I just lost it. I could not hold in my tears anymore. I just burst out sobbing, uncontrollably. Snot running down my lips and chin. DH was on my right and Holly was on my left, comforting me. I felt embarassed to put on such a scene but at the same time, it is what I needed. I needed to let go of those memories. Let go of all the things I have been holding onto so tightly. Thinking about it still brings tears to my eyes. It is just so damn hard to think that my babies are up in Heaven and I can't touch them or see them. I want that control and yet I have to relinquish it. I can't keep fighting a losing battle. Nothing I do will ever bring them back to me. I just have to go on, the best I can.

There were so many women there. Some got up in front of the group and shared their stories of grief. One woman, who's 2-day old son died from SIDS, talked about how things get harder as time goes on - not easier. She sees everyone else moving on but she is stuck in time. She will always remember his birthday, while everyone else forgets. She went on to have another son but her baby boy will always be a part of her. A second woman spoke about her miscarriages and stillbirth in late pregnancy. Her daughter was there that night and had lost twins at 6 weeks. She said that despite her losses, she knew God had a plan for her. She was blessed with her daughter and another child that she may not have had if not for her losses. Another woman spoke about her stillborn daughter, who passed away at 40 weeks. She talked about her husband's illness that almost killed him, but instead, she lost her daughter, who had been perfectly healthy. She said her faith in God is what kept her strong and what kept her sane throughout the hard times.

Again, I felt the guilt wash over me. I haven't been to church in over a year - since DH and I were married to be exact. I believe in God but I never believed I needed a church to pray or live my life in a Christian way. And yet, while I sat there in the pew, I felt as though I had let God down. I felt guilty for not coming to a house of worship until now to grieve and ask for help. When I lost my babies, I blamed Him rather than asked for His hand to guide me. I questioned His existence, and asked why He would take my babies from me and give them to people who would knowingly neglect or abuse them. And here in church, I saw firsthand that I was not being punished. I had been wrong. And I felt ashamed that I had so easily cast aside my faith in my time of need.

The pastor spoke of the guilt involved with loss. He said guilt is the work of Satan. It made me think of how I was feeling right then. And it made me think about the guilt I've felt about my losses. Maybe I shouldn't have walked around the mall that day the day before. Maybe I shouldn't have worked and should have been on bedrest. Maybe I shouldn't have lifted that heavy box during that 2ww. All of those thoughts were knowingly wrong but I tortured myself by pondering my every act I performed during my pregnancies. And here I was being told I was absolved.

While it didn't exactly erase all of my guilt, it certainly put me more at ease. I felt cleansed in a way. My losses will always be a part of me but I felt like it is okay to start over again. Like I am being given another chance.

As the service concluded, I asked DH to walk the letters I had written up to the altar to put into a little wooden box, to be buried in the churchyard under a rose bush. The rose bush will be our memorial marker. I think that on the anniversaries of my babies' premature birthdays, I will visit this rosebush and pay my respects. I never held them in my arms and I never buried them except for in my heart. Now, I feel like I have another physical, tangible piece of evidence that they were here with me. That brings me great comfort.

On the way home, DH and I talked about what the service meant to us. We both mentioned that we thought we had now found a church we could belong to. A church that has recognized and repented for not being there for women who have experienced loss. A church that really spoke to us. We felt that was the most positive part of the experience. We also talked about how the service brought up feelings we thought we had conquered. We both admitted our vulnerabilities and talked about how regaining our faith could make the infertility battle a bit easier to manage.

And then DH mentioned about how the service reminded him of an old girlfriend, who may or may not have been pregnant and had an abortion. Again, I was stunned and sat in silence. Here we were, supposedly grieiving the babies we lost together, and he was thinking about a baby he may or may not have had with another woman? I was furious. To go on record, I am not anti-abortion. But I just couldn't believe that he would bring this up now. At this moment. I thought it was totally inappropriate. And while I'm no longer furious about the matter, I still feel as though he cheated our children. How could he compare children he made out of love with me to children he possibly made with someone (a) he didn't want a future with, and (b) who wouldn't even keep the child or inform him of the situation? Am I being totally irrational? When I brought up my hurt feelings to DH, he told me has a right to grieve a child lost to abortion just as much as to miscarriage. But that just stung. I don't know what to think of it. I only know how it makes me feel. As if someone else got pregnant by him and could've kept the baby if she wanted to. But I don't have the liberty of making that choice. I just don't want to be compared to her. I don't think I want to be compared to any of his past conquests. Am I just being selfish and jealous?

I am having a hard time dealing with this issue but I am trying to remain positive. He married me and we are trying to have a family together. One foot in front of the other. Day by day. That is all I can do. That is all I know how to do.


Courtney said...

I feel like there is nothing much I can say to make things better, but I can tell you that you are in my thoughts.

Samantha said...

Wow, that's a lot of emotions to go through so fast in one day. All I can recommend is that you take some time to consider how you feel and absorb the new information. From what you've written about your husband, I think he too is in a very raw state, and certainly wasn't trying to share that information to belittle your losses. It sounds like it might have something that he had some deep guilt about for a long time.


Meghan said...

Wow--you too went through quite a bit this weekend. That's a lot of emotions to go back and forth through. I hope you and your husband can work through all of these emotions and surprises. I have to admit I'd be floored it I found out DH got another woman pregnant. I think it would send me into a tailspin so you're doing great putting one foot in front of the other

Good luck with everything

Geohde said...

Hon, I am sorry about AF. Truly sorry. I hope that the coming cycle does the trick.


LeRoy Dissing said...

There is a time and place for everything and I also believe there is a time and place for nothing. I think your DH should have opted for the latter this weekend when it came to informing you of his past. That was not the time or place, JMHO. I am sure you will voice your feelings to him about this. How would he feel if you told him you were grieving over a loss pregnancy with a former boyfriend? Especially when you two are at a memorial service to commenorate the children lost together. I think your feelings are totally understandable.

Anonymous said...

BIG HUGS from me, I know its hard :(


Katarina Jelly Beana said...

Rough weekend for both of you! You dealing with your grief, him dealing with his of both past and present and trying to be there for you in yours. It sounds like emotions were running so close to the surface a blow up was inevitable.

I'm happy you found a church that makes you feel welcomeed. I'm hopeful that the argument will lead to some good, honest, open discussions with your DH. I hope for only good things for you in this cycle.

Chris said...

Wow, that's a lot to process in one short weekend. It sounds as though the service and what it means for your losses is exactly what you needed. I'm glad you were able to find comfort. As far as your hubby's comments, I just don't know what to say. You are on the right track though when you remember that he IS married to you and trying to have children with YOU. That needs to be your focus. Hugs to you.

Maryanne said...

Wow - this was an emotional weekend for both of you. I am glad you found a church you can call home! How have you felt the last few days?

Melissa said...

I have to remind myself on a constant basis that we are SO different from our husbands. Men process and express emotions and hardships in such alternate methods as us that often what we perceive as insensitive was their way of just opening up more of themselves to us. While his timing was probably not ideal, he was just sharing an admission of guilt with you that I am sure the church service stirred up in him. I often want to roll eyes and snicker when husband brings up previous relationships, but remind myself that all of those women and situations helped mold him in to the man that I love and value so much today and without those he may not be the wonderful mate that he is. He is, after all, your other half and that half comes with a past. Guilt and grief are hard to deal with. I hope you can forgive him for his terrible timing and you guys can start fresh this cycle, like after a rain. Wash all the past pain away and look to tomorrow with hope!

JJ said...

Whew, what a TIME you had....that must have been hard for DH to mention the other "possible" child. I just continue to pray for peace for both of you--that you can grieve and move forward as a couple: one foot in front of the other, day by day.
HUGS to you...

hope548 said...

I'm glad the service went well and that you liked the church. I don't blame you for being mad at your husband. I have to agree it was wrong for him to bring that up at that time. You two will work through it.

Have you hear of M.E.N.D.? You may already know about it, but it's an online support site for mother's enduring neonatal death. I met the founder an at IF support group meeting a few years ago. It's a great organization if you haven't heard of it.

Anyway, I hope things settle down and y'all get everything worked out!

Take care!

journey to junior said...

oh, kristen. ((hug)). that is just way too much to process all at once. i'm so sorry that DH hurt you by being honest. it sucks when that happens. it is all out there now, though, and you can take each hour as it comes and deal with it best you can.

big fingers crossed for you on this cycle.

Carrie said...

That sounds like a heavy day. The emotions of the service to deal with and then DH. I'm only guessing but perhaps he feels that his emotions aren't taken so seriously. It certainly sounds as if he is kicking off for a reason. Sometimes we lash out at the ones we love when we are hurting the worst. I am still sorry that it happened this way though. Hope you can patch it up soon x

Kim said...

Wow. That's so heavy. Wow.

The only thing that I can say about your husband is that if this woman did indeed have an abortion, then he didn't really have a choice either... and even if child wasn't exactly made out of love like yours, that doesn't mean he wouldn't have loved that child anyway. So, in a way... I get it. I know the day wasn't about that though, which is why it hurt... but it's still a reality for him, I guess. But it definitely wasn't the best time or place or even something he needed to share with you, so I'm sorry :O(.

Rachel said...

I think the service sounded wonderful. I may see about having something like that at our church.

Tash said...

Jeez, this post is loaded. I'm not sure where to begin: For starts, you are to be commended for going to a memorial service. They. are. tough. Also, FWIW, parents in my support group said the *same exact thing* about things getting worse before they get better. Mourning is not a straight line; you feel numb, and then start to feel, and when you feel it might actually be pretty bad before it starts to feel better again. I'm sorry you're going through this. I'm not religious, so I can't speak to your views here, but I will say that events like yours really shake your faith -- in both positive and negative ways. I don't think it's bad to consider switching churches or mindsets now if you've found support, in fact, I think it's healthy. I would NOT feel guilty though. Not at all. And finally, as to your husband: right after Maddy died I discovered that a man who is dating a family member got a girlfriend pregnant when he was v. young. They were unmarried, but her parents did not condone their marriage, so the girl had the baby and gave it up for adoption -- he knows it was a boy, but he never saw him. A few decades later, he still doesn't have children of his own, and thinks of this boy somewhere out there every year on his birthday. I guess I'm trying to say men grieve too. I don't think your husband's timing was particularly good (at all) (ugh) but he's probably thinking about what he's lost, not "what could be" if that makes any sense. In other words, I doubt it has anything to do with you, or his love for you. In any case, hope next month goes a bit better and I'll be checking in! You're in my thoughts.

The Town Criers said...

I'm sorry that your husband brought that up in the car. The service sounded incredibly cathartic. I'm impressed that the church does this.

Grad3 said...

You have been through a very intense weekend. I am glad to know that the service was able to bring you some peace.

As far as DH, his timing was poor to say the least. That being said I don't think he is "comparing" the two of you. I think that he is saying that he possibly lost another child. I guess what you need to ask yourself is are you comparing yourself to her? If the situation turned out to be true, would it make a difference if she had miscarried or lost the baby at birth? I think what I am tying to say is it the fact if she chose not have the baby- is that what bothers you most when you are working so hard to get there? I know that I feel differently about abortion after going through infertility... still pro-choice but would want people to consider adoption much more heavily.

JMHO- I think that if there had been a child who had lived, when your DH married you, you would have loved that child just based on the fact that he was an extension of your husband. I don't think that you would have felt like he had cheated on your heavenly children or you future earthly children. You have too big of a heart for that.

That being said, the tough things about emotions are that they aren't always rational and it makes them harder to deal with when you are a logical person like yourself.

In the end this is certainly not a reflection of how he feels about you, your children, or what he wants your future to look like together. He chose you and that counts pretty big in my book.

I hope that you are able to come together soon and both of you are able to make peace with it all.

We are all cheering you on for this cycle, hang in there.

Road Blocks and Rollercoasters said...

I'm sorry AF showed up, but I think it is great that you have a protocol all lined up. I swear, sometimes that's the only thing that gets me through each cycle--having a plan for the next one.

Sending lots of HUGS your way! :)


I would be feeling the same way you are if my husband were to say those things. I would be soooo furious, I'd also be hurt.

Take care of yourself.

Barb said...

You made me tear up just reading it. I have all kinds of guilt even over my chemical pregnancy, and lots of "what ifs." I even have guilt about grieving that pregnancy b/c I know it was so early that it wasn't even really much of an embryo yet.. so I feel like I don't have the right to grieve as if I had lost it later. But it did rip my heart out when it happened. So anyway. Lots of care and hugs.

Elizabeth said...

so intense... I can't imagine all the different emotions you went/are going through... I too think it's really impressive that the church did this; so many times these kinds of losses are brushed under the carpet, secret pain. The catharsis can be so good. And then your husband's revelation... wow. I imagine it's going to take time to really process everything. (((((hugs)))))

olivegirl said...

I just wanted to add that the church service you attended sounded very touching and I hope it helps you come to terms with the pain of losing your twins.

Foreverhopeful said...

I'm so sorry for all you are going through and had to endure this weekend. That's nice that your church did a service like that and it helped you find faith and strength in God. I hope it continues to give you strength and peace and healing. I think men just don't know how to express themselves and often say the wrong thing at the wrong time. I'm sure you are both hurting. Hugs to you.

lori said...

i'm so sorry you've had to endure so much in so little time. i, too, think that DH was very inconsiderate to have sprung that info on you at such a time. i hope that you both find peace and healing.

thinking of you,

Natalie said...

Your description of the memorial made me cry. :( Just so sad.

Men say the wrong thing and the wrong time ALL the time, I swear. I don't know how they are so talented. :sigh:

Kami said...

Sorry, I am just catching up. I'm glad you found a community you think you could belong too.

I'm not sure what to think about your husband's comments. I can see how he would feel all his losses - even if the losses with you were more significant. It is so hard when we are grieving to understand the grieving of our spouses.

I hope things are better now.

Mary said...

I am just catching up on your posts and am still sitting here crying from this one.

I never put the word "guilt" to my feelings about my miscarriage, but that is so, SO right. I feel guilty that I KNOW that it was my OWN BODY that caused my miscarriage to occur, then I feel guilty that I KNOW the cause of my m/c when so many people never know and it only made me feel worse -not better. I have tried so hard NOT to feel guilty during my current pregnancy for still grieving my lost baby but I still find myself crying for my first child well over a year later.

Thank you so much for sharing all of that. It really has given me a lot to think about. As usual your words continue to be so touching and make such a difference in people's lives!

I am so glad you found that service and hope that as time has past since then it has helped to uplift you to tackle this cycle.

I continue to pray for you and DH and your IF battle.

Amy said...

I'm here from Mel's roundup extravaganza and your post just grabbed me and made me cry. I know that feeling of guilt, and all the what-ifs that go with miscarriage, and the whys, and the questions to God. But you're right, faith is not an F word, and I know He has a plan. Thank you for that reminder.

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