Saturday, November 12, 2005

Wait for 3 months

I was anxious in those days following the death of our boys. First I was in a whirlwind of grief and confusion, but then it subsided enough for me to focus on my health. Once my normal functioning returned it was time to get on with the minutia of life - dishes, laundry, chores, playdates, preschool, you know, life.

I became obsessed with pregnancy and infant loss. I joined several support groups both online and off. I was able to hear others stories, their recovery, emotions, and the cause of their loss. I felt less alone. I was understood. But I also began to hear that women were trying again. Sometimes immediately after a loss, sometimes six months. I researched the reasoning; was it their gestational period, the nature of the miscarriage/loss, their age, their fertility issues? I was determined to become educated before my 3-week follow-up appointment.

The follow-up appointment was anything but normal. We cried a little, hugged, talked about results, chances for a repeat loss, future risks, and how lucky I had been. But at the end the doctor said not to get pregnant for 3 months. Now I had done the research. This recommendation was usually made for emotional reasons, not physical. I felt I was a strong woman and the kids were getting older. I had already lost 5 months of gestation and I didn't want to waste another 3. So I asked my doctor the exact reasons for waiting the 3 months. She said that in the first months after a D&C the uterine lining isn't prepared for implantation and she didn't want me to experience another loss so close to losing the twins. I asked her if the baby would be at risk if I did get pregnant and she said no. The baby would be fine.

So we went home and discussed it. We told our family members that we were instructed to wait and then we started trying. An early miscarriage wasn't a big deal. At the most my period would be two weeks late before implantation failed. I certainly could handle that risk when the other possibility would be a new baby.

We tried right away, even before my first cycle. We charted and temped and planned our sex life. Then my period showed up 3 days early. After the initial shock of my period (my first in almost 2 years) I was able to relax. I convinced myself that this was healthy for my body to get on track and now I would understand my cycle better. We would have a better chance next month.

Then the week of ovulation came. I began worrying and stressing about sex on Sunday night even though I wasn't due to ovulate until Thursday. I charted despite the flu and a teething/sick baby. We had sex despite the abnormally late work hours. Thursday came and went with no ovulation. Four days later I still hadn't ovulated and I began to worry.

I started thinking I was having fertility problems, regardless of the fact that we have never had problems getting pregnant 4 other times. I started analyzing every twinge and temperature shift. I became obsessed. I emailed strangers with information on cervical mucous and sex. My husband didn't even want to talk to me anymore. I began to get depressed about the boys.

I realized then that the 3 month wait isn't because I would still be grieving for my babies (although I am) or that I would be emotionally unstable and not able to conceive or handle another loss. But the stress of trying to concieve is daunting. I am *desperate* this time. Maybe so I can prove that there isn't something wrong with my body. Maybe so I know that there is another little one on the way. Maybe so I can begin planning for the future; our vacations, birthdays, and school enrollment.

There is so much going on in your head and heart in the months after you lose your child(ren). Even your life has to readjust. I am still coming to terms with the fact that the children won't need to share a room in a few months. It is too much added stress to make sure you are having sex on the right day. The time should be spent focusing on your relationship as a couple, supporting one another through your grief, and having some fun. Not arguing about what time you are coming home so you don't miss your 'fertile window'.

Now that I know all of this we should change our plan. Have fun as a couple and let nature take its course. But I'm not that woman. I never have been. I taught school full time, planned a wedding, and went to graduate school over an hour away all in 10-weeks. After that I continued to work, and go to school and then I got pregnant. I have succeeded at all the daunting challenges I have put before me. Except the twins. That challenge I failed. So I am desperate to succeed again. Even if that means arguing about sex.

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