Sunday, September 2, 2007

Is Anybody Listening?

After our second miscarriage, my OB agreed to do some minimal testing to make the three month waiting period easier to bear. The simple blood panel, looking primarily for APS and lupus, came back with no abnormalities. So, now all we had to do was wait.

April was one of the darkest months of my life. My hormones were completely out of whack and I felt that my doctor wasn't listening to me. I just felt in my bones that something was wrong, and to wait three months just to have the same thing happen again seemed absolutely nuts to me. I was so angry. I had a repeat image of thrusting my arm through a window and the blood trickling down my arm. I didn't want to hurt myself, I just wanted to break things. I wasn't just angry, I was also incredibly depressed. I cried without warning, almost all of time, and had trouble getting out of bed in the morning.

I finally broke down and went to see my primary care doctor, a woman I had been going to for four years. She was wonderful. First off, she gave me a big hug and even shed a couple of tears with me. She ordered more bloodwork for some other tests she thought might be useful - without me even having to ask. We talked about my options regarding the depression and finally decided on a prescription for antidepressants. With one small hitch. She wanted me to wait one week, and see if somehow in that time, I started to feel better. When I took the prescription, I thought for sure that I would be getting it filled.

Strangely, I started to feel better the very next day. I think it had a lot to do with someone treating my loss as a loss and me as someone who needed medical assistance. I think a lot of the time, my suffering is made worse by the silence that I have to maintain around it. I can't talk to most people about our losses. My mother-in-law has never mentioned it to me and when I bring it up to her, she quickly changes the subject. My own mother will listen for a minute or two and then say, "Are you still seeing a therapist? I really think that you need to talk to someone about this." I get that a lot, actually. The "I think you need to talk to someone about this." I AM talking to someone. I am talking to you.

I know what they mean. They mean someone professional who can help me. And I do see someone, and it has helped. But I think it would help more if my friends and family, and perhaps more importantly, society as a whole, really listened, really tried to understand. I think a lot of the reasons why I get so angry, get so sad is because I feel like I have to hide so much of my grief and I am expected to just move on. If a living child had died, a parent would never be expected to go back to work a couple of days later and just get over it. If your sister died, no one would just look at you strangely and say, "Well, there must have been something wrong with her." If your aunt died, no one would shake their head and say, "It's God's will."

It would still be hard to miscarry. Nothing is ever going to make it easy. But it could be easier, I think, if we didn't have to hide so much of our grief and pain so that others didn't feel uncomfortable.


Polka Dot said...

People never know how to respond. It drives me crazy. And if they'd just LISTEN to us, they'd quickly learn that sometimes a response isn't even needed. Just the ear, the sincere concern without any thought to how they should reply, would be a God send. Instead, they get too wrapped up in how uncomfy it makes them feel that, really, I think all common sense goes right out of their heads and they just blurt out anything. Which usually ends up being the wrong thing.

I hate to ask because I know there's no real polite way to do it, but do you know which tests your RE has already run?

Katie said...

I agree with you about people just trying to say something - and that it would be so much better if they were more concerned with listening rather than talking.
Oh, gosh, testing. Everything, I think. We had all the physical tests including HSG and endometrial biopsy, Day 3 blood work, sperm analysis, chromosomal testing. The one thing about my RE is that she is good, but extremely conservative. She thinks you should start with the "easy" things to diagnose, because those are also the easy things to fix. Then, you can start messing with the more controversial. Since nothing normal came up abnormal, I think she is just throwing the kitchen sink at us. Any recommendations on testing are most definitely appreciated.

Polka Dot said...

It just so happens that I have a couple of extra heart pendants and thread ; ) If you'll email your address to me at, I'll send you one. It's nothing grand, but it made me feel like I was doing someting.

Has your RE run any auto-immune testing yet? If not, she's being VERY conservative. It's normally recommended after 3 losses, but mine did it after our first because I asked for it after learning our baby was chromosonaly normal. I don't have an auto-immune issue, but they found a MTHFR factor in my DNA that causes blood clots - what she's determined was the likely cause of the mc (not to mention other health issues for me).

If your RE hasn't, insist on it. And if she waffles, push even harder. Something like the MTHFR can be solved with baby aspirin and heparin. There are even a few auto-immune issues that cause the same thing and can be handled with the same meds. I'd ask for it asap, especially if you stink for a reason ; )

jill said...

When I was going through all of the sadness after my miscarriage, I SO wish that someone would have just sent out a letter to all of my friends, family, acquaintances, etc to tell them this!