Dear Daughter: Why You’re an Only

Dear daughter:

I can’t tell you this today. You are only 5 years old. There are some things you have to wait to understand. But lately, you keep asking me for a baby sister. It’s always a sister. On occasion with some of your friends who are boys, you’ll request a brother but for the most part, the menu is: baby sister, baby sister, and more baby sister.

Last Summer, one day as we ate our dinner outside, you asked me if I could make you a baby sister. When I told you it “didn’t exactly work that way,” you then tried to offer your own services to carry “one baby brother” and me “a baby sister.” When I tried to explain to you that it still doesn’t work that way, you offered grandma’s services. Too bad that it still doesn’t work that way.

Read More: Dear Daughter: Why You’re an Only

While You’re Planning, Life Happens,

Laura

7 Things To NEVER Say To Someone Struggling With Infertility

Seriously. You’re not helping.

When someone experiences or goes through infertility, or pregnancy and infant loss, it’s very hard to tolerate just about anything someone might say. For a long time it can feel as if there are no correct words to help your heart heal, but on occasion, someone will say a gem that really makes you feel a little warmth and brightness during such a stressful and dark time in your life.

On the flip side, there are also the people who say things that you absolutely cannot believe another human being would have the balls to say to someone experiencing difficulty getting pregnant, grieving over the loss of a pregnancy or coping with a stillbirth.

If you or your loved ones are dealing with these heart wrenching issues, hand all the people you know and love this list of what NOT to say someone enduring fertility or pregnancy/infant loss.

1. “You can always adopt.”

After I miscarried, an old ex-friend of mine’s advice was “Well there are plenty of babies and kids looking for homes. You can always adopt.”

While that statement is true, number one, nowhere in that statement does it acknowledge the grief I experienced and number two: news flash sister: Not everyone can afford to adopt. I know I couldn’t back then and I still can’t! Throwing those words around is foolish. Adoption is a completely lovely way to grow your family, but not everyone is equipped to do so. Please, bite your tongue people.

Read More: 7 Things To NEVER Say To Someone Struggling With Infertility

Watch Your Tongue,

Laura

The Pain of a Miscarriage and the Healing Power of Yoga

My very first pregnancy was a miscarriage, and it felt like a cruel joke. I had been very sick to my stomach and barely eating. I was out of work and my OBGYN kept sending me for ultrasounds as he wasn’t sure if the pregnancy was viable. When I got the bad news, I was told my pregnancy had most likely been “over” and non-viable for probably two weeks, yet my body apparently was refusing to miscarry on its own. My doctor decided it would be best if I underwent a D&C, a procedure to remove the contents of the uterus, rather than continuing to wait for my body to do the job on its own. To make matters worse, I had to wait six days for the procedure, which was torture.

The D&C was relatively simple and didn’t cause me much pain beyond some minor cramping afterward (some women get horrible cramps so I was lucky), but it was the feelings that I was left with that hurt so much. My doctor didn’t have a reason for why I had miscarried and apparently this is common. According to American Pregnancy, “Studies reveal that anywhere from 10-25 percent of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Chemical pregnancies may account for 50-75 percent of all miscarriages.

Read More: The Pain of a Miscarriage and the Healing Power of Yoga

Time Heals All (Sometimes),

Laura

Are You Ready to Try Again After a Miscarriage?

A miscarriage is a very common but very sad event in a mom or mom-to-be’s life that can be difficult to grieve. At some point, though, most women who miscarry will consider trying again, but how do you know when you’re ready to go another round and perhaps risk the chance of experiencing miscarriage again?

The Negative Outlook Is Gone

When I miscarried before my daughter, I thought it would happen again and again. I thought the worst. I feared I would be childless for life, and while I had no major health issues involved in my miscarriage (simply a bad luck of the draw I suppose), you may have some fertility or genetic issues to overcome.

Read More: Are You Ready to Try Again After a Miscarriage?

Wishing You Baby Dust,

Laura

The Baby (ies) I never had: A Plea to the Medical Field

I was at the park today with my daughter when it happened. All it takes is one sight,smell, taste, or sound, and I remember my last pregnancy.

Summer time reminds most people of pools, ice cream, sunburn, long days, sweaty nights, sex on the beach, and reggae until the break of dawn.

For me? I am able to conjure up all those things, but I also remember vomiting. I remember vomiting, vomiting, and vomiting. I remember a very cruel family member standing at the edge of my bed telling me to “Put on some lipstick. Maybe it will make you feel better. Hurry up and get better.” This person was saying this after I had been unable to keep anything down–food or liquid–for four days…despite being on IV fluids around the clock and the highest dose of Zofran, an anti-nausea medication through my PICC line. My doctor had been telling me I was a candidate for TPN and steroids, yet I was only 7 weeks pregnant. Side effects are: birth defects and death.

I remember trying to eat watermelon. I remember calling people desperately for help. Help with laundry, cleaning, meal-making for my daughter and husband. I remember the pleas of “Mommy, pick me up, pick me up!” from my 16-month old.

I remember the nastiest piece of garbage resident, who treated me like a piece of garbage as I lay there on a hospital bed, barely able to urinate, despite being on fluids for two whole weeks, around the clock.

I wonder when I will ever be okay with this. That I won’t have that baby, or another baby most likely, ever.

That I will never feel the kicking of a child inside me again. That I will never see an image on a screen of my soon-to be child, and wonder who he or she looks like.

That when my daughter looks longingly out the window at other kids, that I will most likely, never give her someone to play with.

I hate that a special and lovely day with my daughter at the park is ruined by this memory that came up from nowhere. It took the sight of one familiar object to bring me to this place I had forgotten for quite some time.

Some people think I’m whiny because hey, I have one beautiful and healthy child. I should be grateful. Who cares if I threw up and my body basically shuts down when I’m pregnant? No Big deal. I should just accept the losses, and move on, and shut up.

Guess what?

When men discovered the cure for the erectile dysfunction, the world shouted hurray. Plenty of men with worthwhile penises needed this cute, and I can’t blame them for wanting it.

I want to know, OBGYN’s around the world, when are you going to educate yourself on hyperemesis? Some people puke when they’re pregnant, sure, but then there are others who do more than just puke. We puke until we lose teeth, ruin our bodies, lose our vision, and lose our babies either to miscarriage or abortion. Some women die.

When will you give a shit, doctors of the world, that some of us can’t just take a little ginger and crackers? That Zofran, the cure-all for those with average or sometimes severe sickness, isn’t a cure-all?  That Reglan, another common nausea drug, while helpful for some, drives the rest of us crazy? It made me have neurological tics, tightness in my throat, and anxiety like you wouldn’t believe. And with all that, it still didn’t make me feel a lick better.

I just want to know that other than one researcher from UCLA, the medical field cares.  That other than helpher.org. people are listening and creating change for those of us with hyperemesis. People had a hey-day when Kate Middleton was diagnosed with hyperemesis, but even her case doesn’t come close to describing what the most extreme patients like myself dealt with.

Please care medical world, and OBGYNS of the United States of Opportunity.

I will probably never dare to get pregnant again, unless I end up with more support and my career can take another year leave of absence, but I care for my daughter, who is at risk of having hyperemesis in pregnancy since I did.

I want my daughter to not have it like I did. I want her to have as many babies as she likes and can care for, (maybe she won’t want any–that’s fine!) without having to compromise her health, marriage, and life.

I want other daughters and women who still want kids and have had HG to have that chance that I probably will never have.

I care because it robbed me of a healthy pregnancy, and robbed my daughter of a sibling. It shot my career, finances, and pursuits in the foot, and strained my marriage.

I want people to start caring. Pregnancy is not supposed to be some death-enabling stunt. It is supposed to be hard, yes, but not life-risking. Science has helped many women conceive babies, so why not start to help those who struggle after conception?

I was given one amazing and intelligent daughter. I never forget that. I never forget a moment of what it felt like during pregnancy. The first year of my daughter’s life was literally one of my happiest years ever. I was so strained during pregnancy that post-birth, I feasted on all the oxytocin nursing provided me with. I looked at my daughter daily and felt a gratitude words cannot express. I know many cannot have that feeling. That cribs are empty and hearts are void for life for some folks who cannot have kids.

This doesn’t make my losses, our losses, any smaller.

One day I will have to sit down with my daughter and tell her about my three pregnancies. I will have to tell her about how hard and sad they were at times because if I don’t, she may succumb to it in her own pregnancies, and I want her to understand if she does, her feelings are normal.

Many women with hyperemesis gravidarium do not recover fast after birth. Many women suffer post-partum depression and anxiety, PTSD, and numerous physical issues. For the longest time, I could not go into my bedroom for long without feeling panic and sadness because I had lived in my bedroom sick as a dog, all to end up with nothing.

I measured my life in minutes. I could only get through an hour. My chest burned, my heart rate was beyond rapid–150 laying in a bed–and my vision blurred.

I want my daughter to have better.

It’s time to learn about the condition OBGYN’s. You’re not all that savvy in this illness. Medical professionals need to be trained. Nurses, techs, doctors, etc. The nurse who looked at me with my PICC line and said, “Oh just morning sickness,” should have gotten kicked in her uterus for her insensitivity, but I was living on ice chips, and didn’t have the strength.

For those of you in New Jersey, I wanted to share that my OBGYN at the time, Dr. Van Horn, was amazing and compassionate. My high-risk doctor, Dr. Fernandez was as well. In my last pregnancy, Dr. Tal was direct, caring, and educated. Miriam Erick, a nutritionist an HG specialist, was also supportive and helpful to me.

There are professionals who care, but the amount is minute, and the lack of knowledge and treatment in the medical field is astounding and disgusting.

Wake up, people. Women are suffering, and the costs to treat HG patients in the hospitals are astounding. It’s better financially to provide better treatment.

For those family members whose wives, daughters, sisters, or cousins are suffering, try to be empathetic. Imagine starving for days on end. Months. Imagine vomiting for days on end. Months.

Do you think you would be happy?

I may never see another positive pregnancy test again, and if so, may I survive it, but I think for a very long time, I will always say good-bye to those babies.

Goodbye to you that I never knew. Goodbye to you who daughter will never call brother or sister.

Good night to you, and let peace come onto me.

Maybe there will be a summer in which I do not cry for you and miss you.