Monday, August 3, 2009

Loss and Learning

After a While
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't mean security,

And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises

And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open,

With the grace of a woman,
Not the grief of a child

And you learn to build all your roads on today,
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After awhile you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much

So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
In stead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers

And you learn that you really can endure...
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth,
and you learn and learn...
With every good bye you learn.
Veronica Shoffstall 1971

I don't usually write about my personal life too much here. Blogging is sort of my escape from the day to day struggles. But something happened to me this week and I am so surprised at how it's all unfolding that I wanted to share in case you find yourself in this situation.

Cliff and I have been waging war against infertility for four years. We thought that we had finally figured out half our problem. We need IVF to get pregnant. We got pregnant last summer! It was a blissful time that ended far too soon when we lost our twins one at a time at six and seven weeks.

The grief was a whole new color I had never seen. Darker than the darkest dark. Anger was too civilized. No, I was mad. Shame and fear gripped me. I was totally unprepared.

After a few days rest I went back to school in a heavy with grief. My dearest colleague-sister-friend (who I have written about before), took me by the hand and lead me to a support group. It was one of the most generous things someone has done for me.

A year of support group, two surgeries, and a failed frozen round of IVF later, I found myself back at it. We felt brave enough to endure the twice daily injections and the steep price tag of IVF again.

Once again the fresh round worked! Cliff and I found ourselves taking tiny leaps of faith and slowly allowing ourselves to get excited. We were pregnant! We heard the heartbeat! Our doctor said, "Only a 2% chance of miscarriage!" Relief flooded over us. My mother started knitting. After many weeks of nervousness, I started sewing.

But, " futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight." Friday I had another ultra sound and instantly, clear as day, I saw that there was no heartbeat.

I was utterly shocked and yet not surprised. I have learned that two opposing emotions can sit side by side very easily. Fear and joy. Shock and knowing. All week there had been little taps so to speak. Hints that things were off.

The worst part was having to tell Cliff. That scene, in my mind, was the closest thing to a horror film that I have ever lived. It was a night of shared devastation.

The next day Cliff insisted that we go for a drive.

He took me to Ohjai. Driving through farmland and hills so far away from the city had a calming effect. We spent the day wandering around town. We lingered in bookstores and gift shops. The sunshine and cool breeze was very healing. We had margheritas! One of our longstanding personal jokes played out when Cliff ordered a raspberry magarita off the menu only to be told that they don't make raspberry margaritas. I laughed so deeply it took me off guard.

Now, I find myself surprisingly at peace. Peacefully sad. Greiving, but not drowning.

I know that this "little monkey"is up in heaven with his siblings. I also know what to expect. I know that the next month will be rough as the hormones recede. I know that in about 5 weeks my body will feel normal, but the heart will take longer. I am happy to still be on vacation for this transition. It sucks, but it's so much easier than trying to teach in a fog. I know that somehow, someway the money will come so that we can try again. I know that in a year, I will remember the sadness like a scar, but I won't feel it as much. I know I can endure.

Which is why I decided to write this today. I think women need to share our survival stories. If you are or ever go through this, please feel free to email me. I would love to support you in any way that I can.

My future has been altered. On a grand scheme and in the little day to day things. Even the crafty, thrifty, bloggy things. So, I am going to take a little break. We have a trip to Florida to see my parents planned. Then Piper and Kate are coming for a visit. There is nothing like old friends to soothe what ails you.

Back in mid August.



HollyLynne said...

Oh, Jane. I am so, so sorry. I'm looking forward to reading you again after your break, and I hope your summer is as restorative as it could possibly be!

Nutsy Coco said...

I'm so sorry to hear about what you've been going through! I can only imagine how difficult it is to write about, but I have no doubt it helps others out there going through the same thing. I hope you have much peace and good times with friends and family in your time away.

Grammy Suzzy said...

I am so very, very sorry for your loss. I know it is not much, but you are in my prayers.

Unknown said...

This had me in tears. And I'm at work, which is not a good thing. I am sooo sorry for your loss and so far away that all I can offer is prayers and air hugs (that take many miles to get there). Thank you for sharing this, because I know how hard it is. I know first hand how devastating losing a little one is and and I am so proud you can not only see what is to come but that you can put a voice on it.

Many prayers & much love,

Ruth said...

My heart breaks for you as I read this with tears. I am so sorry to hear about your little one. I will be praying for strength and peace for you and your husband. It is so difficult. I know quite a few people who have gone down this difficult road, too. My sil was one and she was able to carry my sweet nephew to term. He is now 3.


Embellished Bayou said...

I haven't experienced infertility or a miscarriage myself, but my best friend has and I know just how difficult it was for her. Thank you for sharing, hopefully you feel better getting your feelings out and know that there are plenty of us out there supporting you through thoughts & prayers.

Anonymous said...

Praying for you Jane.

Mandy @ mintnclandycreate said...

I am sorry to hear about the pain you've been going through, but I am really glad you shared your story. I think you're right. Women don't often talk about these instances in our lives, because they are painful, but talking brings healing to you and to those who can relate to you. I'm glad you've been given a peace, and I will pray for you as you continue to try. Thanks again for being courageous enough to share your story.

stacy said...

Your blog reads like poetry. You are so strong and have an elegant way of opening your heart to all of us reading. It is so important to hear stories like this and to know you are not alone out there. I have also experienced infertility. Without the support of my friends I would have never made it. After 2 years I finally had my twins and wouldn't you know it...they were born on my friend's birthday (9/6/01)!! prayers and hugs and love to you and your husband!! Enjoy your vacation and the biggest hug from your mom!!

Michaela said...

Thank you for sharing this. How brave of you to share this with us. I hope your break brings the relaxation and restoration you need. You're in my thoughts.

Kristen Bieber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristen Bieber said...

Thank you for sharing your story, I am sorry for your loss.

Jennifer said...

"When you come to the end of all the light you know,
and it is time to step into the darkness of the unknown,
faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen:
Either you will be given something solid to stand on
or you will be taught to fly."

You will come out on the other side. I have been's not's numbing...

It WILL happen for you one way or me

jungle dream pagoda said... sorry to hear this...I WILL be thinking of you.
It is truly an all to common tale,one that some of my hubs and my best friends,went thru. They have stopped the injections(after,yes,so much mon)and are awaiting adoption here in the states. They chose this because her hubs was beginning to reach the age limit for adoption. It too is taking soooo much longer than they thought.

Anonymous said...

I have experienced infertility and have come out on the other side. I do know pain and will be praying for you. I am so thankful that in all, God is in control and has a plan (Just wish he would share it with us from the get-go). I will be praying for you.

Karin said...

This is my first visit to your blog. So sorry to hear of this great loss. My thoughts are with you.

Unknown said...

Oh, Jane. :( My heart hurts for your losses and for your sorrow. I pray that you and Cliff will find peace and solace even in your frustration, anger and grief. Thank you for sharing your struggle--you're right, we women need to share our hard times too, and buoy one another up. I'll be thinking of you!

The Woman Undone said...

I know the feeling...3 miscarriages myself!! Each one leaves a hole, that scars. It takes a while to heal. Many blessings & positive thoughts sent your way.

Signed your imaginary internet friend,

Dina said...

keeping you in my thoughts ~ wishing you continued peace...

MoDLin said...

Jane, I'm so very sorry for your loss. I hope your vacation is a gentle beginning of your healing.

The March of Dimes has created a packet of bereavement materials available at no charge for parents or other family members who have experienced the loss of a baby between conception and the first month of life. You can read about this sensitive and helpful kit, and even order one, at this link:

Best wishes to you both.

Lynnelle said...

Jane, my heart breaks for you. I struggled with IF for years. Your loss echoes in mine and as two ladies who have lived a similar life. You are in my thoughts and I send healing strength to you.



I'm sorry this is happening to you. I've been there. I've seen the screen of the ultra sound with no heartbeat on the little peanut and felt that dark cloud fall over me far too many times. It's the darkest hour of my life. I wish you strength and the ability to overcome the pain.

Melany @ Project Anthologies said...

I'm so so sorry. So many of us have been through some form of this - you're right - it's important to share the survival stories. I imagine your post touched and helped heal the hearts of many women out there. Thinking of you and hoping you're having a relaxing and healing time with your loved one.

Anonymous said...

So wonderful of you to share your experience with us - I was exactly the same when my husband and me were trying for a baby and not falling and the support I received (and encouraging stories that were shared) really kept me from beating myself up about it all. In our case it turned out I had mercury toxicity from my amalgam fillings and went on a detox program and had my fillings out by a mercury free dentist etc. We are now the very happy parents of our 9 month old daughter! I would only say make sure you check out unconventional remedies, as well as from the standard medical model as it was a reflexologist who diagnosed me, not a doctor (they just offered me IVF, without knowing why I wasn't getting pregnant). Wishing you the best of luck in becoming a family and I am sure it will happen for you in the end. Perhaps the most inspiring element of our story is that we are also now adopting a little girl from Thailand and can't wait to get her home with us to complete our family and it was not falling pregnant in the first place that put us on this path - life is amazing, confusing and sometimes tough but a great life can always be made with the pieces that come your way. Ashlea xx

jodi said...

In blogland you are one of the nicest people that I have met and I'm so sorry that you and your husband are going through this.

I will keep you on my prayer list and hope for the future.

The Amusing Redhead said...


I am so so sorry. Praying for you,


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your losses. We have also struggled with infertility and it is not an easy journey. I hope that you can find peace and find joy in those around you.

nest of posies said...

just came over form u create, and viewed your kitchens. then i found this post...

i hope you feel comfort all around and strength from your family & friends. even though i've never met you, after spending a few minutes reading your blog, i can see your heart is as good as gold.

i pray your break away will be exactly what you need. you are a very talented person.

thinking of you.

Melissa said...

What blessing you are to many women who read your blog and are hurting. So thank you. God hears your prayers and one way or another he will answer them. This video helped me while going though infertility and I hope it can comfort you also.

My prayers are with you.

Becky said...

I am so very, very sorry.

Anonymous said...

I can't write how sorry I am, and how much I admire your beautiful way of sharing your story with all of us.

I am praying with you and for you.

Sandy said...

My thoughts are all the same as has already been posted, except
my sister in-law did lose a baby, and I know that she still hurts so much, and that it has helped her to be able to share with others.
I am so glad that you did write this post.
I am praying for you.
I put your other blog on my list on my new teacher blog, under
Other Teacher Blogs.
I will be watching for mid August when you are back.

Laura said...

I know this sadness 3 times over myself.
I will pray for you and your husband and your future as parents.
I will also pray that light comes your way very soon.

Heather said...

Oh, I am so incredibly sorry for your loss, and everything you've been through. I wish you the best of luck, and admire your strength. I think it's great of you to share your can you keep this inside? It's a loss and you shouldn't have to keep that inside.

sara said...

Oh my word! I am crying right now. please know that I will be praying for you!!!!! I pray that God will give you that child and ease the grief- which I cannot imagine.

Sarah said...

Oh sweetheart. I am so, so, so, so sorry you found yourself in this position yet again. You know you can email me if you need anything at all.

Katie said...

I'm new to your blog, but I just wanted to thank you for this post. It is so brave of you to put your feelings out there for the world to see, but also very kind, and very important. I too struggle with infertility. I too know the pain of miscarriage. I too know that together when we share each other's pain, and heart ache it helps us heal. I wouldn't have made it through my own pain without the help of a friend who knew what I was going through. Please know that my prayers are with you, my ears are open if you need to talk, and my faith is strong that some day you will get the desire of your heart, one way or another.