In my last post, I described how I felt when my life suddenly changed in an unexpected way. I found myself in a pit of grief, guilt, shame and despair. Since then, I’ve learned how to live with these feelings a little better. I’ve learned to cope better.
As sad and depressing my posts regarding our latest loss may seem, this is the best I’ve ever felt after a miscarriage. I don’t know exactly what have changed, but I feel better. I still can’t sleep well, have back pains and migraines, don’t want to socialize much and have a hard time enjoying almost anything, but it still feels a lot better than the other times.
For my husband, on the other hand, this is the lowest he has ever reached. He’s really struggling right now and it breaks my heart to watch him.
After the ectopic surgery, when we lost our first pregnancy, our hopes and dreams, but also a significant part of our fertility with one of my tubes gone, I worried we wouldn’t be able to conceive again. My husband was a lot more optimistic. His main concerns were about my health, both physical and mental, as he watched me struggle with depression and grief.
I imagine he never really got attached to that baby. One Saturday I showed him a positive pregnancy test, the following Tuesday the midwife was telling us something is wrong. The whole pregnancy he was probably focused on helping me go through this. I, however, couldn’t ignore the overwhelming changes in my body, likely caused by the high levels of HCG; and at every glimmer of hope offered by a doctor, I would cling to it and wish our baby, our little survivor, would be found healthy and well. When reality hit us, I guess it was easier for him to let go.
A few months later, when I found out I was pregnant again, we ran to the doctors to see if the baby had implanted in the right place this time. I had a trip to my home country, booked months before, to only a couple of days after we knew I was pregnant and all was well, though so very early. I left, alone, and spent over 2 weeks there, several thousand kilometres away. I should have been happy and grateful, and I was, but it was that new pregnancy that made me realise how I hadn’t finished grieving our first baby and the guilt and sadness resurfaced.
When I arrived back, the doctors consultations and doubts over the viability of this baby immediately started. Yet again, my husband never really lived that pregnancy, never really got attached. He supported me through our first medical abortion with misoprostol, through the painful procedure, the fear of the unknown, only the both of us, at home, alone. His focus was on getting me well and healthy again, and probably only the sight of the perfectly intact gestational sac and placenta, fitting my hand palm exactly, as we sat in the bathroom looking at it, made him realise there really was a baby.
The third pregnancy is when it all changed for him. This was our take-home baby in his mind. He filled his heart with plans and hopes for the future after the 7 week scan showed a perfectly sized embryo with a beating heart. I, the forever pessimist, kept calculating HCG rising times and worrying, even as doctors, friends and family insisted everything was fine.
Three weeks later, when the heartbeat was gone and we had to endure another medical abortion, I still felt desperately sad, though my husband was falling from much greater highs. The day after the medical procedure was the first time I’ve seen him cry, sob and talk about his feelings towards our babies.
At that time I decided I couldn’t go on like this any longer. I needed to feel better, to cope, if we were to continue on this path. Or I couldn’t keep trying. That’s when I found all your blogs and started following your journeys silently. I also started seeing a therapist and doing yoga and acupuncture. I was open to anything that could help me with the pain.
My husband went on as he did with the other losses, moving forward and stuffing his feelings down. I think he didn’t expect it to be any different or harder this time; only it was.
As we saw different doctors in the hope of figuring out why I was loosing the babies, the recommendation to try IVF came in. At first I thought it was pointless, I could get pregnant naturally, why would the fate of our babies be any different if they’re fertilised outside my body? Doctors couldn’t answer this, but proposed to choose the best embryo, the one with the best chances of surviving. I wasn’t convinced. My husband, the ever optimistic, trusting the doctors, believed this was going to be it.
While we decided whether to move forward with IVF or not, I wanted us to try (and I really mean try) to get pregnant again, the natural way. Seeing how hard it was becoming for him to follow my baby making schedules was the only clue to how difficult this experience was for him too. And that’s what ultimately made me agree to IVF.
Pregnant again, after the second fresh cycle, I kept anxiously worrying, while my husband trusted this was finally it. IVF was our answer and our baby was here.
As our world came crushing down once more, I think he finally understood this is not going to be easy. There’s no easy way out, only a very long and painful way ahead of us. I think this realisation is what he’s struggling with now.
Last Wednesday he went to see our GP and told her he’s been having constant anxiety attacks, among other symptoms. She suggested medication and recommended therapy. She also gave him a leave note for a week, when she wants to see him again. He, therefore, have not been going to work since then. He had one therapy session and have another one scheduled, but isn’t very convinced psychology can help him.
We’re trying to get the therapy paid by our private health insurance, provided by our employer, but I’m not sure it will work out. So far, I’ve been paying for my sessions out of pocket, even though it was recommended by our GP, because the insurance said they only cover losses after 20 weeks. I guess we’re supposed to not feel anything before 20 weeks. And it doesn’t matter how many losses one has, I’ve also tried arguing for that; they only look at how far along was the last pregnancy.
In a way, it feels we’ve switched places now. I’m helplessly heartbroken as there’s nothing I can do to make him feel better. I imagine that’s how he felt about me with every loss. I want to tell him, give me your pain, I’ll take it, I’ve learned to live with it now, but I can’t. I can only hope we can go through this new challenge, as we’ve been able so far.
However, I can’t help but wonder, is there a limit to how much heartache a relationship can take? Even if we are honest, communicate well and respect each other, will there ever be a time when all our memories, moments and lives are so overwhelmed by sadness and pain we only remind each other of past struggles and can’t find happiness together anymore? I hope not.