Most women to a certain extent hate their body. Too flabby here, too much jiggle there. I’m just like that. I could certainly stand to lose a little around my midsection and tone my upper arms up a bit more, but I don’t dwell on it to the point where I “fat-shame” myself for how I look or feel. For the most part, I’m happy about my body and I’m comfortable in my own skin in regards to my physical appearance.
I hate my body for a different reason. It failed me. Or, at least I think it did.
The one thing a woman is supposed to be able to do that is unique to us is bear a child. I couldn’t do that properly. A part of me feels like less of a woman since I couldn’t accomplish something that seems like it should be perfectly simple to do, since countless other women have done it since the beginning of time.
I failed to do one of the most important responsibilities that a mother could do for a child. Protect their life. I couldn’t keep my baby safe for nine months. I only held him in my body for 18+4, just a little under 5 months.
Everyone always says you should be pretty safe once you get out of the first trimester and it should be smooth sailing but it wasn’t in our case. We lost our baby part way through the second trimester.
A week after that loss, I was back in the hospital in horrible pain. I had developed an infection because my body couldn’t pass all of the retained pregnancy tissue after the loss. More pain and more reminder of the failure.
I remember sitting alone in the emergency room, just crying with the OB resident because my husband couldn’t get away from work and I needed to make a decision on what to do. I wanted it all to be behind me. I wanted to forget. I wanted to move on. So, I decided to have them perform a D&E to remove the remaining tissue right then and there. It was a quicker option than they presented me of having surgery with general anesthesia and a longer recovery in the hospital.
It was 15 to 20 minutes of pure agonizing pain even with local anesthetic in my cervix and IV pain medication. I dug my nails into the male nurse’s hand as he stood by my side, methodically breathing and trying to imagine being anywhere but in that ER.
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Eight weeks later, my period returned for the first time. Another reminder that I was no longer pregnant and how much I hated my body for failing me in this one thing. That one thing that now I believe every woman should cherish and think of as a gift, since I now know how prevalent it is for women to have complications with pregnancies. Each month is a horrible reminder of that reality now.
Since starting my period in sixth grade, I have been regular — every 30 days and very heavy and crampy. I had gotten used to 20+ years of hoarding pads and tampons in my purse like a little squirrel hiding its nuts for winter. Making sure I had a towel down on the bed in case of accidents during the night when I would move around in my sleep. Having hot flashes and acne from the hormone production, making me feel like a menopausal teenager at times. Post-pregnancy, things changed.
The cramps are far more intense and start up to a week earlier. Along with the cramps, the hormone changes have caused my migraines to intensify, sometimes completely incapacitating me. The only relief to keep me somewhat human for two weeks of the month is from popping Midol like they were M&M’s. (I’m seeing my neurologist next month for other options.) The flow itself has become non-existent. One blessing out of this, if that’s even considered a blessing, since I would be greatly affected by fatigue and anemia symptoms because of the heavy blood flow in the past.
I just hate my body sometimes. How it’s this horrible reminder of the past and what is now my future. I hate it because I never even looked pregnant during those months of carrying my precious baby. I lost weight from horrible morning sickness and a lack of appetite. I hate how I never got to feel my baby kick or move around. I hate how the doctors told me in most cases, with the kind of diagnosis we were given, a woman would’ve miscarried naturally in the first trimester before even knowing she was pregnant. I hate how we waited so long to try and get pregnant and now I feel like I’m a ticking time-bomb with few viable eggs as I inch ever-closer to 40.
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Still, I am amazed at the human body. How beautiful a woman’s body is when she’s pregnant. The strength and courage that she shows when going through labor and delivery. The hopeful thought of the mother-child bond keeps me going.
I’m going to be 36 next week. I’m determined to believe that we can beat my biological clock and any other odds that are stacked against us. Last August, we met with the high-risk OB team for a consult and they’re confident that we will be able to get pregnant again just as quickly and shouldn’t have any other issues genetically, which would prevent us from going full-term with another pregnancy.
However, I started having some other issues with my health in November. As I mentioned, my migraines have intensified so waiting to see my neurologist. I’ve been on the same “rescue” meds for migraines for several years. But, now it seems I’ve starting to get ocular migraines, or at least, more visual symptoms. I’ve been forced to limit my computer and screen-time lately because I can’t focus my eyes well or the light is just too painful to endure. Really hard when your full-time job is a website consultant and you’re online at least 6-8 hours per day. My eye doctor can’t find anything wrong and my prescription, just checked in October, has very minimally changed.
Then, after Thanksgiving, I started having a lot of gastro-stress. I’ve suffered with IBS+C for several years and have a history of pre-cancerous intestinal polyps so I’m on the five-year plan for colonoscopies and I’m due for one in early May. But this last bout of GI distress was the exact opposite of my typical IBS flares with severe abdominal pains. I went to urgent care and my white blood count was through the roof as was my BP. I was fighting some kind of infection and doctors suspect I may have developed ulcerative colitis or ischemic colitis, or I had it before but the stress of the past year has caused it to flare-up. Waiting for the GI follow-up next month as well.
So, until I can all of these things straightened out…we’re hesitant to start trying again. We just started having the discussion recently, too. I’ve finally felt mentally and physically ready to try again but now this new bunch of set-backs.
Again, I hate my body.
I now feel like it’s working against me. The physical and emotional stress of losing a child is monumental. There is no book that prepares you for what happens in this situation. They have all the books in the world to prepare you for a baby and bringing a baby into the world, but where are the books and the self-help guides that tell you about all the things that happen in the days, weeks and months that pass after a loss?
I know…how about the sad sequel: “What to Expect When You Expected to Have a Baby But Didn’t Bring Him/Her Home”?