8 Things I was Unprepared for with my Early Miscarriages

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Early miscarriages are unfortunately very common, yet they are very stigmatized.

  • “They are so common, so it’s not that big of deal.”
  • “At least you weren’t too far along.”
  • “At least the baby hadn’t developed much.”
  • “It will just be like a period.”
  • “It’s too early to see any tissue.”
  • “You didn’t even know the gender yet.”
  • “There will be more chances.”
  • “It happened for a reason.”
  • “At least it wasn’t a real baby yet.”
  • “At least you can get pregnant.”
  • “You should be over this by now.”
  • “Time heals all wounds.”

For various reasons (I believe in large part due to the abortion culture that minimizes unborn life….yes, that even hugely permeates Christian circles), early losses are not seen as that big of a deal.

People somehow think that with a miscarriage…you were pregnant….and now you’re just not.  This begs the question….where then does the baby go?  It doesn’t just vanish.  It’s not simply “Oh I’m not pregnant anymore.”  It’s not a simple period that comes and goes right on schedule.  It is an actual physical process.

I recognize that there is a spectrum of experiences, and mine may not have been the same as yours.  But here are 8 things I personally was unprepared for with my early miscarriages.

8 Things I was Unprepared for With Early Miscarriage

  1. Pregnancy symptoms might continue after your baby has died, and even after the baby has passed from your body.  I remember experiencing nausea after our baby was gone and it was utterly heartbreaking.  It will take a while for your body’s hormones to go back down and for a while your body will continue to act as if it is pregnant, due to the presence of HCG in your system.
  2. It was like a labor.  The labor process was most easily seen in my late miscarriage (post pending on that), but even with my two 6 week losses, my body followed a labor pattern.  The cramping began, it intensified, and shortly after the most intense cramps/contractions, I could feel the baby and sac coming out.  A miscarriage is not just a period….it is your body giving birth to a baby.  Yes, a very tiny baby.  But it is still a process.
  3. You might be able to see your baby.  I was, of course, hoping that I would be able to see the baby, but being so early, I was assuming it would not be possible.  With my first loss, I might have been able to identify it, but I am not sure.  With my second, I was fairly certain, and after looking at images online, it did seem to confirm that what I was seeing was the sac with my tiny child inside.  Here is a web site that shows pictures of babies born at every gestational week.
  4. You might feel like you let your babies down.  I analyzed everything.  Was it the time I was wearing heels and stepped down too hard on a step?  Was it when I ran for a brief second in the parking lot?  Was it because of my sin?  Was it because I was doing such a terrible job with my living son?  The questions plagued me and it was difficult working through a lot of that.
  5. You might receive insensitive comments.  I began this post with a number of examples.  I was unprepared for the insensitive and even callous comments that I heard.  After becoming part of miscarriage circles, I have realized that the comments I heard were just the tip of the iceberg.  Friends of mine were told outrageously offensive things.  I can’t count the number of times I thought, “Would you say this if my 2 year old died?  Would you say this if a parent died?  How in the world do you think this is an ok thing to say??” It is important to give grace to people who might not understand what it is like to lose a baby, but it is ok for it to hurt.
  6. You might hear a lot of Christianese.  This is similar to the above, but there were a lot of comments of “Just trust God,” “Everything happens for a reason,” “Rejoice always,” etc.  I know that people mean well and truly wanted to point us to the Lord, but it has taken a lot to extend grace.  Christianese, Biblical platitudes, and quoted Bible verses might have a place, but they do not enter into the struggle, come alongside, or get us walking actively toward the Lord.
  7. You might become a different person.  I was not prepared for how I changed.  Not only did my physical life change, as I suddenly became the mother of a child on earth as well as children in heaven, but I became a different person on the inside.  In some ways, it was for the better.  I became more grateful, more empathetic, more willing to enter other’s struggles.  I wrestled with theological questions I had previously always accepted but never had to grapple with personally.  In other ways, it was for the worse.  I became at times cynical and angry.  And in yet other ways, it wasn’t good or bad, it was just…different.  I was a different person after experiencing the trauma of early loss.
  8. People will move on.  Your world will stop spinning, but other people’s worlds will continue.  Most people, even in Christian circles, do not count children lost in early pregnancy as children.  They were just pregnancies.  You just might be the only person who remembers your loss dates, your due dates, even your children’s very existence.  It will hurt like crazy.  But remember that you were the only one who knew your child.  You and God are the only ones who have carried your child, who have felt and known the affects of their existence.  It sucks that no one remembers, but you do not ever have to feel guilty for remembering and loving your children.  Because they were indeed children.  Human people created in the very image of God.
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Health and Fertility Update

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It has been a long while since I have updated regarding doctors, health issues, and fertility.  Perhaps an update is in store?

First of all, I switched to a NaPro doctor back in November.  I am kicking myself for not making the switch sooner.  I posted before about the need to be your own advocate, and while I have attempted to do so for years, it is hard work and still can take time.  Through a long series of events, I was finally able to switch.

NaPro

I highly, highly recommend NaPro Technology to anybody dealing with fertility issues or any issues relating to women’s health and their cycles.  NaPro stands for Natural Procreative Technology.  It was founded by a Catholic man and because of their beliefs, they do not do any IVF or artificial fertility treatments.  And that is why I recommend them….they work only with your body to fix your body’s symptoms, to get to the root of the issue with your body.  They won’t band-aid anything with birth control or IVF.

I finally was at a place where all my symptoms were taken into consideration, where I wasn’t told “these things just happen,” etc.  I was finally at a place where I didn’t have to fight tooth and nail just to be heard.

Through a series of events, I discovered that I have/had quite a few issues going on…

…endometriosis
…PCOS
…Luteinized Unruptured Follicle Syndrome (or LUF)
…low progesterone
…Thyroid System Disorder (also called Wilson’s Disease or adrenal fatigue)
…MTHFR

Endometriosis, low progesterone, and MTHFR can all cause miscarriage.  My Dr told me that 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage with even small amounts of endometriosis present.  And the reason it usually takes us a while to get pregnant is because of the LUF.  All the pieces started falling into place!

To treat the endo, I had a surgery in March where all the endo was removed.  To restore hormonal balance for the endo, PCOS, low progesterone, and the LUFs, I was instructed to give myself HCG injections post-peak (after ovulation).  If I did not ovulate due to an LUF, I instead went in for progesterone injections.  All hormone injections are bio-identical hormones.

To diagnose the thyroid disorder, I took my basal body temperature 4 times a day for a while.  People with this disorder tend to have low body temperatures.  Mine certainly were!  I also had a large number of symptoms on a symptom checklist they gave me.  After diagnosis, they gave me a prescription for T3, which is one of the thyroid hormones, and the part that affects the adrenals.  They started me on the lowest dose and slowly worked me up two doses to the highest dose, or therapeutic dose.

Within one week of being on the low dose, I was sleeping almost completely through the night.  This might not sound like a huge deal, but after over ten years of awful awful sleep issues, this was truly incredible.  Not only did I sleep better, but I noticed a marked improvement in my irritability.  Now, this could be because lack of sleep is tied to irritability…or it could be because irritability is another symptom of TSD.  Regardless of the reason, I was over the moon happy.

I went from feeling almost constantly on edge, irritable over the slightest things, and feeling completely out of control of my frustration levels…to suddenly being able to notice triggers….to being able to feel irritation rising up in me…and in turn being able to work through it before it came out (or be able to more quickly calm down and then work through it and apologize).  After years and years of feeling like an awful sinful person and doubting my salvation over my continued struggle with frustration and anger, it was so shocking and wonderful to realize that it was not just a spiritual problem.  It was a physical one.  My body was so over-worked and could not function the way it was supposed to.  Yes, my sinful flesh still struggles with getting frustrated easily.  But now that the physical part is more under control, I am now a lot happier, and more easily able to A) notice frustration levels rising (instead of feeling already almost constantly at the edge) so that B) I can work through it.

When I finally got up to the highest dose of the T3, within one week, I again just felt better.  I can’t pinpoint any specific symptom that improved, I just felt better.  Not sure how to explain it.

Now, for the MTHFR, I had to go to another doctor to be diagnosed.  My NaPro doctor would not test me for it (not all NaPro doctors refuse, but mine did).  Thankfully, I had another great recommendation for a doctor, so I went to her.  She explained to me what MTHFR is, why it is underdiagnosed, and the science behind it.  After being tested, I did indeed have a form of MTHFR, which is basically a genetic mutation where your body cannot process folic acid.

To treat that, I went on MethylCpG.  Because it is a genetic mutation, it cannot be cured, only managed to help my body better deal with the mutation.  MethylCpG is, in essence, a methylfolate supplement.  After hearing several glowing reports of people feeling night and day better after only a few days on a folate supplement, I tried to not get my hopes up too high in case I didn’t have as dramatic a story.  Well…I did.  Within 3 days, I noticed major change and improvement.

I felt like a weight was lifted off me.  I felt happy.  As in…happy.  It has been a very very long time since I felt with my emotions that I was happy.  I noticed a big change in my depression with that.  Also big changes in my anxiety.  A lot of things just didn’t bother me anymore.  I was less stressed and less worried.  For years I had felt as if I lived in a thick fog, kind of “floating” through life.  As soon as events would happen, it often felt like it was already in the distant past.  I felt disconnected from my surroundings and from events.  While I do still experience that, I did notice improvement in the brain fog and in the disconnected feeling.

I also noticed improvement in my energy levels and motivation to accomplish things.

Who knew that something as simple as folic acid could affect so much??

The hormone progress was much slower.  For several months it seemed like nothing was happening.  I kept having LUFs, and regardless of treatment, I could not get my body to ovulate.  But I did notice smaller changes, such as cycle length and improvement on issues relating to my period.  Even though there were several discouraging things, such as not actually ovulating, I knew that my body was responding to the hormones.  It just takes time to fix things that have been out of whack for so long!

I again highly highly recommend NaPro.  Especially if you are feeling like your voice is not being heard or your symptoms are being dismissed.  To find a NaPro doctor near you, check this map.

One thing I appreciate about my NaPro doctor is that she was very thorough in diagnosis.  She did a full blood panel and a full ultrasound series.  One problem with mainstream doctors is that they will do a blood test for hormone levels on one day…but the problem is that your hormone levels change throughout your cycle.  Levels on one day do not give an adequate representation of your overall hormone levels or if they are in balance.  In addition, if a doctor orders an ultrasound, it is usually on one or two days of the cycle.  If my Dr hadn’t followed me through with a full series (at one point I was getting daily ultrasounds), we would not have known that I have LUFS.  If I had simply had one ultrasound that showed a growing dominant follicle, most Drs would have told me I was good to go and would never have realized that a week later, my follicle was still growing…and growing…and never released.

So there is a brief update.  I feel so strongly that people be with doctors that will truly help their case and help heal their bodies….with no band-aids, no fights, and no immediate jumping to more extreme methods.

I am so incredibly thankful that God led us to this Dr and that I finally got answers.  For the longest time when I thought about how much better I felt, I would seriously start crying.  I was beginning to think that I just had to learn to live with feeling awful.  I can’t even describe how much better I feel now.

 

Book Review: Fatal Trust

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Ian Wells is a struggling attorney, doing what he can to keep his practice afloat and care for his mother who has Alzheimer’s.  When a job comes across his desk that pays in a huge way, he takes it, but the doubts plague him.

What kind of job pays this kind of money?  What exactly does he need to do?  How are these people connected to him?

Soon enough, he finds himself involved with criminals and finding links to supposedly random dreams he had been having for years.

Fatal Trust, by Todd M. Johnson, is an interesting read that kept me wondering.  I can’t say that I was unable to put it down, but I did appreciate the originality of the plot and the way in which the author has his readers hunting for answers alongside Ian Wells.

 

 

Christianity and Wonder Woman

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I finally got to see the movie Wonder Woman recently.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, although I had heard mostly glowing reviews.

I was a bit nervous that it would be an over-the-top movie that was trying way too hard to make a woman a superhero.  I was so pleasantly surprised!

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(Image not from movie)

I had heard some concern voiced that the movie would be too feministic.  As a Biblical feminist, I am not alarmed by the use of the word “feminist,” however I am against the quasi-feminism that tries too hard (that could be a whole other post for another time).  But I must say that the film did a fantastic job at portraying real feminism.

Diana was raised as an Amazon warrior, living on Paradise Island along with only women.  They were not crazy radicals, they were not trying to do a man’s job, they were not trying to just prove they were strong.  It was simply their way of life.  They were simply people doing their job…which happened to be fighting and training.

A recurring theme throughout the movie was doing the right thing.  “It doesn’t matter what they deserve…it matters what you believe.”  Diana was committed to truth, to justice, to mercy, to doing what was right.  She was not trying to simply be an invincible woman because “I am woman – hear me roar.”  She was just a person doing the right thing.

It was beautiful, I’m not going to lie.  Sure, there were some fighting scenes where I was like, “Well, that’s definitely not realistic.”  But….Iron Man, Thor, Superman, even Batman (and let’s be honest…Batman is by far the best)….definitely not realistic either.  Wonder Woman being a woman had nothing to do with the realistic nature of the film.  It was a super hero movie.  Super hero by definition is not realistic.

Diana ends up leaving her paradise to enter the world of WWI London.  There were several scenes that also highlighted sexism that existed in both that day and present day.  Upon reaching London, Diana had men leering at her, making comments about her place as a woman, and doubting her ability to help…whether in translating languages or in fighting on the battlefield.  Again, this was a place where the script writers could have made a blatant point.  Diana could have been offended and exclaimed, “Excuse me!  Just because I am a woman doesn’t mean I can’t help.” etc  Instead, they portrayed it so beautifully.  You could see the confusion in Diana’s eyes as she was trying to process and understand what was happening. To her, she was not a woman talking to a man. She recognized that they were both just people…trying to help end a war.  She didn’t define herself or anyone else by their gender. She simply took it in stride, and continued boldly and confidently doing her job.  So yes, she did show the men that she was capable, but she did it in a much more beautiful, strong way.

I also appreciated many other aspects of the film, such as the way they portrayed war.  We know it’s an awful thing, but we accept it as a reality of our world.  It was interesting seeing it through Diana’s eyes, as someone who had never seen war or violence in her life.

There was some love interest, and for a minute I was worried that it would go too far and overshadow the progress they had made in portraying a woman super hero lead.  But it was tastefully done, and did not detract from her doing her job.

All in all I thought it was a very well done film in general, and also did a great job introducing a female super hero lead.  It was not just about showcasing a crazy awesome woman (although she definitely was), it was simply about the fight between good and evil.

Here is another post explaining how Wonder Woman reflects the gospel of Christ.

Did you see Wonder Woman?  What were your thoughts?

Book Review: The Heist

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The Heist: How Grace Robs Us Of Our Shame by Chris Durso (author bio here) is a brand new release.  Since grace has been a huge factor of my spiritual growth lately, I looked forward to reading it.

Unfortunately, I was left rather disappointed.

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The book was so full of anecdotes and illustrations that I frequently lost sight of the main points he was trying to make.  In addition, he frequently added artistic flair to Bible passages and came to applications that best case are not accepted by mainstream Christianity, and worst case are actually adding to Scripture’s words.  As a writer, I am all for trying to get into the reality of Scripture by imagining myself in the story, but it can be taken too far.

While the author did reference hell, there were also several points where I was wondering if he was alluding to a belief in universalism.

His main analogy was that of a heist…how Jesus stole our guilt, shame, and sin, paid our price, and now can receive all the glory that He deserves.  The author was so committed to this analogy, and referred to it so frequently, that it often felt as if he was trying to force his points to fit the analogy, rather than using the analogy to occasionally amplify a point.

While overall I had mostly critiques, there were definitely some parts that were encouraging and my heart needed to hear.  I appreciated the quote on page 132, “God isn’t waiting for you to finish punishing yourself before He restores you.”

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.