Sunday, 9 December 2012

Christmas trees, presents and tears

I got a text message today from a dear friend who lost her first baby this year.  She was sitting in her car, in the parking lot of the local shopping centre, crying her eyes out.  Her attempt at a normal round of Christmas present buying had proven too hard a task.  She was trapped inside her grief, inside her car, and didn't know what to do next.

It made me wonder how many of us have been in this same situation.  Whether it was at Christmas time, a birthday or anniversary, outside a friend's house as a baby shower goes on inside... How many of us have attempted to do something "normal" like buying a gift or simple grocery shopping, in order to feel "normal"?  And how many of us have broken apart at the seams in the cereal aisle, or surrounded by a crowd in the kids section of Target?  And why do we make ourselves feel so awful when this happens?

I am guilty of trying to act like a normal person since we lost our babies.  Planning parties, organising family dinners, and putting up our Christmas tree on December 1st.   I have tried to buy baby gifts for girlfriends, only to cry all over the gift wrapping.  And I am guilty of trying to pretend that grief doesn't blanket every emotion or thought in my heart and head.  And this seems to be exacerbated ten-fold when someone tries to do something lovely for me!  I can't receive a card or gift without immediately converting to the blubbering version of myself.      

But at Christmas time, we don't play these games in our house.  Christmas Day is a sacred day for so many reasons.  First and foremost it is the birthday of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.  And in the spirit of hope, family and unconditional love, Christmas Day is also the one day a year when Hubby and I be and feel whatever we need to in that moment.  We spend the day in each others company giving and receiving gifts, eating our specially prepared meals and expressing whatever feelings overcome us at any given moment.  

For instance, we usually try to attend church on Christmas morning.  This is tradition that we were both raised with, and one we hope our children will be able to share with us too.  I hold Hubby's hand throughout the whole service as we pray and hear the message of the day.  I can hold my own pretty well until it is time to sing carols.  For whatever reason, for as long as I can remember, singing Christmas carols is for me like opening the floodgates on a year's worth of held in, pent up emotion.  The moment the choir begins rejoicing in "O Holy Night" I am slapped back into my chair, face in my hands, sobbing.  Some years the sobbing is with grateful thanks for the wonderful blessings in our lives, and sometimes it with sadness over not being able to share that Christmas with a beloved family member who passed away during the year.  But this year I know, and I am VERY prepared for the fact that all my tears will be for our babies.  

The thought of this terrifies me!  The thought of crying like a banshee in a church full of people trying to celebrate their own Christmases is mortifyingly embarrassing!   You see, I'm not a "pretty crier".  When I cry, and I mean really, REALLY get into a full on tear fest, I can not be accountable for the drooling, the oozing boogers or the groans that come out of me from somewhere deep within.  Usually when I feel one of these moments coming on, like my dear friend, I search for the closest exit to the room/building/situation and I find a warm, quiet place to hide.  Problem is, church is for some people that warm, quiet place to hide.  And on Christmas Day we are all going to be there together.  I have voiced these concerns to my Husband, who promises to come prepared with extra tissues stuffed into every available pocket, and a coat of some sort to drape around my shoulders so I can hide my face from onlookers.  And if need be, he will hold my hand and guide me out the front door and into a private corner so I can collect my dignity and redo my makeup.  My hero!

Let's face it, Christmas is a hard one.  There is so much expectation put on this single day to magically be able to visit ALL of our family, no matter how far the distance between homes, to cook a meal even a Master Chef would be proud of, and to be constantly chipper in a way that I feel can only be medically or alcoholically induced.  And the person who puts the brunt of this expectation on us is ourselves!

So here is my Christmas wish for you...
I pray that take a moment with your Husband or Wife and allow yourselves to really feel what is in your heart this Christmas.  I don't believe in self-pity or dwelling in grief, but I DO believe in acknowledging it and the role it plays in our lives.  So whether it be first thing in the morning, last thing at night, or you sneak away from your Aunts and Uncles at the family gathering, it really doesn't matter when.  You'll be surprised at how cathartic it can be to have a big old cry.  It may just be what you need to get you through the rest of your Christmas Day duties!

I also wish you much love this Christmas.  The love of our family and friends is the greatest blessing during our hard times.  And I pray that you feel love in abundance.

Merry Christmas everyone! 
All my love, 
Sunny xx  


Sunday, 2 December 2012

The post that took three months to write

I have been hiding.  But you've probably all noticed that already.  
I have been taking cover in our little home, away from my computer and keyboard.  Away from writing, away from talking, away from facing the reality of what was happening.

Our call from the clinic nurse 14 days after our FET twin transfer was not a positive one.  But we already had a fairly strong inkling it wouldn't be.  I had started to feel the first signs of nausea and cramping at around 9-10 days post transfer, but they disappeared as quickly as they'd arrived.  By Day 13 I felt nothing again.  But we set the alarm nice and early on Day 14 so we could do the home pregnancy tests together.  We did two of different brands just to be sure.  One positive (only just) and one negative.  That was enough to convince me.  Three hours later the nurse called and confirmed what we already knew.  Our little ones didn't make it.

I think at first I told myself it was ok.  We had spent months before the transfer toughening ourselves up.  We knew the risks, we knew the failure rates, we'd been told that two embryos may not take as well as one.  But we'd made an informed choice together.  And then we suffered the loss together.  And it only really hit me when I saw my beloved Husband explaining what'd happened, through tears, to his Mum on the phone.  Our two tiny sparks were no more. 

I didn't bleed straight away.  My body didn't want to give up until it was medically induced.  And then when it did, so did my brain...  I couldn't stand the idea of going through this all again.  But our doctor encouraged a second cycle due to the high hormone levels still floating around my body, and that it would be of benefit in another cycle.  So we went ahead with more preparation drugs, however they did not take.  My body rejected the artificial hormones and we cancelled the cycle two days out from the FET.   Sitting in his office alone, weighing up the options of increasing my doses further or cancelling the cycle altogether, I fell apart.  He reached forward, grabbed my hand and told me it was alright to be upset.  He'd had such high hopes for Hubby and I, and even his heart broke for us. 

That afternoon when I got home, Hubby was waiting for.  I didn't have to say a word; didn't have to explain what'd happened during my appointment.  He had a fairly clear idea from the beaten look on my face.  It was right then we decided that we'd definitely had enough for this year.  2012 had been a bust.  We were grateful for the big steps forward we'd made; I mean, we still have eight beautiful, tiny, frozen miracles.  But, we were broken from our losses.   Not long after that we went into our cocoon, where we have been ever since.  We've had some exciting news from family and friends about their own pregnancies.  We are going to be an Aunt and Uncle again very soon to our first beautiful, little nephew, and we couldn't be more excited.  But as for our own baby plans, well they are on hold again for now.