Adieu

For those who have read my blog long enough, you know that I’ve always dreamed of having a large family.  As in six kids.  I have no religious basis the these longings, just that  I love children and want to be surrounded by them.

This past year, after the third miscarriage, I was forced to re-evaluate my plans.  Was wanting another child worth the emotional and physical strain of one, two, or four more miscarriages?  I wasn’t sure.  Ben and I agreed that one more try would surely mean a successful pregnancy.  We were wrong.  If I hadn’t become unexpectedly pregnant two short weeks after that fourth miscarriage, I am not sure if we would have tried again.

With this pregnancy, the hyperemesis gravidarum started early.  It reached a point, sometime around 7 weeks, where I even cried (out of sickness) that I hoped to miscarry.  (A very common desire for those who experience severe pregnancy-induced sickness.)  What ensued was constant bed rest, continued vomiting, horrible headaches, and reliance  on anti-emetic medications.

After seeing my miserable condition repeated day after day, Ben tentatively asked me if I could endure this again.  I didn’t answer him immediately; I think it was about a week later that he repeated the question.  This time, I had an answer: no.  I couldn’t do this again.

I don’t need to explain my reasoning to anyone.  I write today to remind my future self why I, we, made this decision.

Miscarriage 

When I consider trying for another baby, it isn’t an exciting venture.  Instead, I have intense anxiety as I wonder whether the pregnancy would stick or whether I would undergo another miscarriage.  For those who have had one miscarriage, you can understand the deep sadness and anger that comes from losing your baby.  Now multiply that, because the more miscarriages you have the more sadness and anger you feel.  It takes all the excitement out of baby making and turns it into a stressful and angst-ridden venture.  (I imagine my friends who have experienced infertility can relate to this.)

So I have to ask myself, is it worth it?  Sure, if I welcome a baby it is, but if I have bleeding, cramping, and a possible D&C, than it’s not.  The emotional side effects of a miscarriage are so complicated and ambiguous that it takes me months to recover and even longer to not sob every time I think of the lost baby.

HG

If the miscarriages weren’t enough, once a pregnancy sticks, I must contend with 24/7 HG.  Not only do I throw up constantly, but movements, sounds, smells, colors, and sensations (like feeling my pants against my tummy) add to the nausea and increase my vomiting.  The medicine I take to limit the vomiting has its own side effects: dizziness, migraines, continued nausea, and exhaustion (just to name a few).

I am on bed rest.  I can’t take care of my children, help my husband, go to the store, or do anything by myself.  I can’t even snuggle with my kids or husband.  Taking a shower involves having my husband sit on the toilet just in case I pass out.  Brushing my teeth induces vomiting.  I can’t sleep, can’t eat, and can’t drink.  It’s tiring, frustrating, and not a pregnancy experience I can handle again.

Risky Business

To top it all, there is fear.  Even now, with everything going 100% the way it should, there is that small possibility that I can still miscarry.  Pregnancy is a risk, all women know this. That risk increases if you’ve had previous problems.

I am positive, exceedingly positive.  I am also realistic.  I don’t dwell on what could happen I just acknowledge that risk exists.  There are days when fear overtakes reason and I must cope with that.  From experience I have learned that you can’t ignore fear because it only makes it bigger, so I must face it and show it that I am boss.  Each showdown is draining and leaves me emotionally vulnerable. Frankly, I’m tired.  I want to enjoy life; living with fear (even WHEN you are positive and happy) makes this hard.

The Decision

As most of you know, I don’t make decisions on a whim:  I analyze; I weigh my options; I write lists of pros and cons; and, mostly, I self-evaluate.  After considering my experiences, my current condition, and my emotional state, I recognized that this decision isn’t just about me.  It’s about the family.  And my family cannot afford another miscarriage (or slew of miscarriages) nor can I ask them to sacrifice while I have another difficult pregnancy.  I know that we are strong and willing to support each other, but I am not sure if I could emotionally handle 4 more miscarriages and a pregnancy with severe HG.  Frankly, I’m not going to ask my family or myself to repeat these last 2 years.  We have each other, we have another baby on the way, and we are lucky.

It’s Not Over

With the decision made, I can now really enjoy this pregnancy (as much as I can right now) and remind myself and my husband that things will get better.

I also know that there are other options.  My time as a mother hasn’t ended.  I have my two beautiful kids, another on the way, and the possibility of other children–though not birthed by me–to raise.  If I can convince my husband to complete the STARS classes with me, then we could eventually start fostering and might one day add to our family through adoption.  There are also kids overseas who need a family.  The point is, there are endless possibilities.  While I am ultimately saying (and some might argue prematurely to which I say “go to hell”) good-bye to future pregnancies I am not barring the door to the future.

Whew.  That was tough. Now I am going to eat chips and suck on Life Savers while crying copious amounts of tears because this has been an emotional,  albeit necessary, post to write. To my future self: don’t worry, you made the right decision.

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16 Comments

Filed under Pregnancy

16 responses to “Adieu

  1. I can imagine that it was a difficult post to write.. and a difficult decision to make. After the one miscarriage, I have to constantly push away fears of having another one when we are trying. I think about the lost baby all the time.. He/she would be walking right now… But, anyways…
    As you said, there are other ways to add to your family and you are making the best decision for all of you! 🙂 Hope your HG starts getting a little better soon. My cousin had it up until 5 months pregnant with her little boy, but then it abated.
    xoxo

  2. Quite frankly, I don’t know how you endured one, let alone four. You are tough as nails, Mama, and I mean that in the best way. Your kids (now and in the future) are lucky to have you, no matter how they come to be part of your family.

  3. When I saw the title, I freaked. I’m so glad you’ve made this decision and that you’re at peace with it. xoxo

  4. The title scared me too! Until I read the whole post. 🙂 Good for you. I know how hard it is, even after my religious perspectives changed, I hoped to have up to 8 children, because I love children. Up until about half-way through my last pregnancy, I was thinking that we would have at least 6 or 7 children. But since my amazing birth things have felt more and more as is we should be done with biological children, and it has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to contemplate. Seriously, I’ve cried more tears about this than almost anything else I can think of other than my 2 miscarriages. We have many different reasons, ranging from health concerns, to wanting to be there for the children we already have, but it is still a very difficult decision that takes a lot of bravery to make. I’m so glad you are making the decision that you feel is right for you.

  5. Sending you a hug and lifting up a prayer.

  6. I know how hard a decision it can be, Amber! I also thought I’d have 3 or 4 kids, but after suffering from extreme sickness during both my pregnancies, I decided that 2 healthy boys were plenty to keep me busy. Even though I was on Zofran, I still vomited every day and was basically a worthless human being for 9 months. The sickness, depression and inability to be a good mom, wife, human being, ultimately made me decide to stop at 2. I think I felt guilty for a while–especially because I get pregnant really easily and have never had to deal with a miscarriage. But, now, almost four years after my last pregnancy, I can honestly say that I feel really good about my decision. Everyone of us knows what is best for our own situation and family; it sounds like you have made peace with your decision and that is what is most important!

  7. Wrapping you up in a hug, Amber. You’re strong and brave to make this decision and stick to it, knowing in your heart that it’s what’s best for you and your family. Who could argue with that?

  8. Lindsey

    Miss Amber, my thoughts are with you. I understand and respect your decision. With my second on the way, and having had HG with 3 pregnancies, I too have discussed with my husband whether or not we can do this again. It is EXHAUSTING. And honestly, I don’t think very many people understand just how exhausting it is. They say things like, “It’s mind over matter”, or give you suggestions on what foods work, etc. No, it’s not mind over matter. And no, it doesn’t matter what foods I eat! lol And it’s not just exhausting physically, but incredibly emotionally draining as well. I am excited for you and your family- I am sorry you are so sick again. Know that I feel for you and am sending you lots of love!

  9. I’ve been where you are, and without the benefit of biological children to hold onto at the time that we made our decision to stop. We went into the foster/adoption abyss blindly and never looked back. It has been wonderful and I couldn’t imagine our family any other way. If you need a sounding board, you know where to find me! Hugs, hugs and more hugs to you and your family. xo

  10. I’m with Tiffany: I freaked when I read the title. I’m sorry to say I’m glad you are still puking.

    And glad you have made a decision. When the door is constantly open life feels too big. Close the door and live in the room that is your home. These three children. Boundaries allow for freedom. And you certainly could use a bit of that given the prison you’re living with these days. So shut that door! Lock it and throw away the key!

    Besides, you can always unbolt a door a decade from now if you want to.

  11. All I can say is – you and Ben and your children have everything that matters.

    Savor it, Amber.

    Sending respect, and hugs.

  12. I love the idea of writing to your future self, I do that too sometimes. I also like thinking of our past selves, in this case the multiple times you suffered, in pregnancy and earlier than that. Perhaps imagine putting your arms around your past selves, promising them that although it will be hard you can assure them that they will make it to your waiting and loving arms at the age you are now; and then imagine your future self, unseen, whispering as much to the you that you are today. And… Namaste

    • admin

      Bruce, that imagery of our future selves comforting our past selves is not only beautiful but spiritually uplifting. Perhaps when we cry out in desperation for help (when things are difficult) we are really praying to our future selves for comfort? I know that, for me, it makes it easier to think that my future self is rooting for my past self to push through and know that we make it safely on the other side.

  13. I hope you feel a some sense of freedom in your decision. Sometimes the hardest thing is being in limbo, undecided.

    • admin

      You are right, I do feel freedom in my decision as I know I won’t be going through this horrible experience ever again.