Thursday Open Thread

Hi ladies. I’ve had a rough couple of weeks, and I need your feedback.

On Oct. 27th, I took a test and found out I was pregnant. One week later, I started bleeding. Four days and two blood tests later, my midwife confirmed a miscarriage.

Please bear with me as I attempt to sort through the myriad emotions that I’ve been wrestling with:

Shock. I was not actively trying to get pregnant. As most of you know, I have a history of unexplained infertility and I don’t get pregnant without a lot of effort. So my initial reaction was WTF? I thought DH might be upset, as this was unplanned (although we had agreed that we were open to another child, we didn’t talk about timing). And truth be told, my initial selfish thoughts were: how am I going to fit into the size 8 bridesmaid dress sitting in my closet? I guess I won’t be running that half marathon in January. I can’t fly to my best friend’s wedding in April. And that long-planned trip to Europe next summer will be postponed indefinitely (the due date was June 27th).

Excitement. Then DH noticed my period was quite late (yes, he subconsciously tracks my menstrual cycles. Yet another WTF moment). I told him my suspicion that I was pregnant, and I took the test that night. He was happy, which made me happy. Then I started letting myself get excited. Because of my past infertility, this baby was meant to be, I thought. DD would finally get the baby brother or sister she has been begging for (she adores babies). I could share the happy news with my family at Christmas, around the 12 week mark. And I would get another baby. I have enjoyed every stage of motherhood, and now I was eager to do it all over again. We started talking names, and bedroom configurations, and even the larger car we would need to buy.

Despair. The bleeding started slowly, with some sporadic spotting for a couple of days. I called my midwife, who assured me this was normal, as long as the blood wasn’t heavy or bright red. Then Friday morning I woke up to heavy bleeding, like a period. I headed off to DD’s 2nd grade class, completed my volunteer shift in a daze, then headed to the lab to get blood drawn. I was instructed to repeat the test two days later to check for falling hCG levels. But I knew in my gut that this pregnancy was ending. And oh, the sadness descended. I only had a week to start dreaming and planning and fantasizing, but I already mourned the many possibilities. Then I started to think, why me? Why do I seem to suck at this fertility and pregnancy stuff? Why has having children been such a struggle?

Then came the Guilt. Why the self-pity when I have managed to give birth to two healthy, vibrant children? What more could I want? Maybe this miscarriage is a sign that I should quit while I’m ahead, that I’m tempting fate by trying again. I have so much. Why dwell on what I don’t have?

So now I’m left with Confusion. I have no idea what my next move is. Initially I thought we should try again, but now I’m considering quitting. Still, I am not ready for any permanent measures like a vasectomy. I’m 37 years old and have a full and busy life with two amazing children. I have always heard that when you’re done having children, you’ll just know. So why am I so torn? Maybe it just comes down to not feeling like the choice is completely mine. Which doesn’t sit well with my control freak tendencies.

I guess I’m asking for your insight, your experiences, your advice. Did you know when you were done, or was that choice somehow made for you? If the latter, how did you make peace with it?

You ladies have always been a font of wisdom and comfort. Thanks for giving me a place to vent.

And please, do chat about what else is on your mind today. I don’t want the open thread to be a pity party! Some laughs and snark always soothe my soul  😆

Chat away…


62 thoughts on “Thursday Open Thread

  1. Wow – what a whirlwind of emotions! As we like to say on MT, be gentle to yourself. Don’t judge yourself or question your feelings….what you feel is what you feel, no guilt allowed 😉 I don’t think “I’d be happy with a third, but thrilled with what we have” is a bad way to be – sounds just about right to me.

    IMHO, you should not make any decisions about future kids right now. Let the emotions percolate for a bit, let your DH coddle you, and just “be” with what you have.

    Heard an awful Thanksgiving joke……

    “Hey did you hear what happened to the turkey? He got the stuffing knocked out of him”

    That’s the best I can do for an early morning smile…..

  2. Oh honey. I am SO so sorry. You and I have traveled this road together before, and I’m in tears for you. You’re such a great mom and so good at being pregnant, so it makes total sense that you’d want that again, despite your plans. On the other hand, the roller coaster is so, so tough and it’s equally tempting to just get off the ride and avoid the possibility of hurt and just enjoy what you have. Ive been in both places.

    But right now, THIS baby is all that matters. Grieve for this baby and don’t think past that right now, if you can. It doesn’t matter how long you had with him or her. I know you already had so much love and hope in your heart.

    I love you sweetie. I am just so sorry for your loss. Big hugs. Please keep us updated on how you are feeling. I never get tired if hearing it so go ahead and vent with us. Xoxo


    • Thanks for the hugs! I appreciate your understanding and know you can sympathize.

      Seeing pics of Baby F cheers me up immensely, BTW. She’s such an angel, and I’m so thrilled for you.

  3. I don’t have any words of wisdom other than was BB and Sue said… don’t get ahead of yourself, take time to grieve this baby and don’t try to predict or set the future now.. it’s too soon and you need to take some time for your self.

    honestly, I was thinking today on the drive to work how many twists and turns my life has taken, how having Liza was a real last ditch all in attempt to live a straight married life and save a marriage I cared deeply for… I was even thinking “wow if I’d never had her I would be living somewhere else now, financially secure etc..” but really I don’t know that do I? an as much as I was such a bad fit for motherhood for so many years I do know now that this girl was given to me for a reason and I better rise to the occassion… but even 13 years later I’m second guessing myself about whether I should ever have become a mom. So you should absolutely not try to say yay or nay to more kids until you have time to heal physically and emotionaly.. xoxox


    • The second-guessing is part of the game, yes? I tend to think that I would have started trying to have babies much sooner if I had known what a struggle it would be. Then I wouldn’t be pushing 40, battling infertility and miscarriages and fearing time is running out.

      But I don’t know that I would have been as ready for motherhood at a younger age, and that I would have relished it as much. And I don’t know that I would have Maya and Alex, in all their happy, smart, sniping glory. So far I know these two particular kiddos are what I’m meant to have, and they rock 😀

      Thanks for the xoxos. Mwah.

  4. Oh, I’m so sorry Erika. Hugs to you! That sounds like it was a roller coaster of emotions. Take care of yourself.

    I didn’t just know for sure I was done. I sort of thought about a 3rd for a while, but that faded. Eventually it just became no longer of interest, particularly the older they got so life just got easier – it would be hard to go back to the 24/7 of a baby.

    • I hear you. Honestly, I thought my interest had faded a bit – until I found myself pregnant!

      But it does feel like life is getting easier with every week that passes. The thought of starting over with an infant is a tad daunting. Like I said, torn.

  5. ((Erika)) So sorry to hear about this. FWIW, I do think you want a third — and think you should go for it!

    As for me, I am definitely done at 2. But there was a moment, right after Eli was born, that I wanted a 3rd. I can’t explain it. Hormones? But now that time has passed and the baby phase is long behind me, I have no interest in starting over again. Instead, I have found myself devoting the time I would put into a 3rd child into a job I love and helping other family members. My plate is very, very full. :)

    But you are at the right point in your life in that you are already home and a have toddler. You also have familial support behind you. I could see you expanding your broad — although maybe you want to give it a month and talk it over with DH?

    I agree with everyone else here. Be kind to yourself and just let the emotions — whatever they may be — come on!

  6. So sorry to hear all this. I don’t have lots of wisdom to share, just this from my experience. I knew I really wanted to have a 2nd baby and DH didn’t. I tried to make peace with just 1, and sometimes I was *almost* there, but #2 just kept nagging at me and wouldn’t let me go. Sometimes the need for #2 felt more urgent, and sometimes it was just faintly in the background as I waited and hoped that DH would come around. So instead of thinking that you’ll “just know” that you are done, maybe you can think about listening to the voice about “just knowing” that you are NOT done. It sounds to me like you aren’t ready to close the door, so maybe you could just focus on your healing and on your kids for awhile until you hear the #3 voice grow stronger (or not). You have time and don’t need to make a decision right now.

  7. You are still (most likely) under the influence of hormones so of course you will be all over the place.

    I will not even begin to try and interpret where you might be on this topic – that’s way too presumptuous of me! And no, there is no magical potion of “knowing” unless there are obvious physical reasons why you can’t, right?

    It just is what it is. Even with relationships in turmoil I still toyed with the idea of a 3rd child and was open to it until I approached 40 – always had the notion of My Three Sons – and yet, that didn’t happen did it? And I have not one single regret about it now.

    So I will echo the “Just let yourself grieve right now” advice. Just as doctors tell you to wait 3-4 months after a miscarriage to start trying again – I think you should give yourself AT LEAST that much space and hormonal settle down time to consider where you stand on your family size. And really – do you need to decide? Clearly you know you are not 100% for certain DONE or else DH would have already had The Snip :-)

  8. Hey Erika, {{hugs}}. :( I’ve been there – 2 pregnancies, bracketed by 2 miscarriages. My last one was similar to yours – just when I thought I’d keep it, it ended. That made things just crappy, I totally get that. Give yourself time. Don’t make any decisions now. Grieve – that’s what you’re supposed to do now, it’s perfectly ok. When you get through and some time has gone by, you’ll make the decision, and I bet you’ll even have more clarity than before any of this happened. Oh, and screw the guilt. I wanted another after having 2 kids with disabilities, and yea, I had the “why cant I be happy” guilt too. The sucky thing when this happens is you still get all the flood of hormones and emotions anyway. They need to process out, but dont hang on to that guilt. Peace to you!!

    • It really is a grieving process, isn’t it? The last time I had a miscarriage it was after two years of trying, lots of drugs and two rounds of IUI. Then at 11 weeks, there was no fetal heartbeat on the ultrasound. It was a missed miscarriage, I had to have surgery to remove it, and I was absolutely devastated.

      But amazingly I got pregnant as soon as my cycle came back, and then came Alex. I realize now that I probably didn’t have a chance to finish grieving before getting pregnant again. Maybe I am dealing with some residual grief this time around?

      But yeah, crappy is a good way to describe this. Thanks for understanding and sympathizing.

  9. Hugs, sweetie– I just want to reiterate what everyone else says here–take your time to work through everything you are feeling–there’s no time limit on that.

    Here are a couple more jokes for Maya:

    What do you get when you cross a rabbit with a spider? A hairnet!
    Why did the one-handed man cross the road? Because the secondhand store was on the other side!

  10. I am so, so sorry, Erika. What a rollercoaster. Nothing new to add, just give yourself lots of time to process. I too had a missed miscarriage before I got pregnant with DS–waited 4 weeks to miscarry naturally. It was weird. And awful. ((hugs))

  11. I had one miscarriage between my two kids and I knew they were very difficult, but I was shocked just how devastating it was to me. Everyone here is so wise and I agree you should just feel what you are feeling and wait for any big decisions. I’m so sorry you have to go through this.

    Might not be a bad idea to go and talk to a therapist about all the stuff you are feeling. (Then again I think everyone should go to a therapist after spending almost a year with mine who has helped me SO much. I’m like one of those people who found a new religion and wants everyone to join. :-) )

    • Yes, totally. I’ve been in and out of therapy and I believe almost everyone can benefit, especially at times like these. I went for a session with my dh after my miscarriage and it helped a ton, and it helped dh understand the depth of my grief. Sometimes it just takes a couple sessions to work through stuff, it’s not a commitment to therapy forever.

      • I actually intended to get therapy after my first miscarriage, had even looked up the names of some therapists covered by my insurance, then I got pregnant with DS right away. Think it might finally be time to see someone.

  12. Erika, I’ve got nothing to add except (( hugs for you and DH))

    Here’s a silly joke for your kiddos:
    Knock knock
    Who’s there?
    Interrupting Giraffe
    Interrupt…(at this point you interrupt with nonsense/silliness)

  13. Oh Erika, I am so sorry for your loss. Do give yourself time to grieve and I think others are very right when they say that this is not a good time for decisions.

    I have not experienced a pregnancy loss, so I can’t comment on that at all. I will say that I did not (and really do not) know when I was done having kids. DD2 is 4.5 now, and I will be 40 in May. For quite a long time after DD2 I felt strongly that I wanted a third (somehow 3 f, but DH did not. At some point he came around, but by then I felt like the gap after DD2 was getting too long, and that things were finally getting easier and we felt like we were getting a little more space for things other than work and kids. I was very very sad that DH and I never felt the time was right at the same time, even if I am incredibly happy about having to lovely kids. And still, although the practicallities of going back to the baby stage, with two kids that are a little older and now have different needs make me think that this just won’t (and should not) happen anymore, I do wonder about what it would be like, and I do find myself sort of envying women who are pregnant. DH has offered to have the snip and I just don’t feel ready to agree to that yet.

    Apologies for rambling, but long story short, I don’t know that I’m done, but don’t think I will have another child. And just writing that does make me a little sad.

    Be gentle to yourself Erika.

  14. I’m so sorry. Please be gentle with yourself.

    We wanted two, felt done at two, I was a mess when I thought I was pregnant right before the second went to kindergarten. And now. . . I have some regrets. Dd2 is less than 2 years away from college, and I’m not ready to be done with daily parenting. (Most days, anyway.) so I guess “knowing” might be overrated, from my perspective.

    • Was talking to DH this morning and told him I am so happy with the two we have, and if we stop now, maybe a small part of me will wonder “What if,” but I can more than live with that. He said “What if” is the same as a regret, and he doesn’t want me to have any regrets. So then we argued over whether what if = regret, LOL.

      No easy answers, clearly!

      • “What if” is definitely not the same as regret. We all make choices. But even if we’re completely happy with our decisions it doesn’t mean we never wonder about the path not taken.

        • Yes. I don’t know if I’m confusing real regret with some sadness over the prospect of an empty nest.

          My friends tell me I’ll love having the house back. One is trying hard to get her 24 year old to leave again. :)

  15. Hugs honey. I’ve got nothing more wise to offer than what others have said but I’m sending all kinds of positive vibes and prayers your way. There’s no “right” way to do this- any of it- so just let yourself be with whatever “is,” at any given moment.

  16. I am so sorry to hear this news. I think what others have said about grieving this loss right now and not making any firm decisions is the way to go. For what is worth though I had my first at 37 after 2 years of IF. I REALLY wanted 2 although DH was less sure we tried again when DS WAS 2.5 and I had 2 miscarriages in 6 months. But DD was born right after i turned 41 so IMO you are young enough if you want another. I definately knew I was done at 2 though and I never feel any longing for more. Again IMO if you were done you would be sending your DH lickety split to the DR.

  17. To lighten the mood with a return to the shallow end of the pool:

    I bought a new purse to fit my iPad mini. Actually a used purse but it’s a nice coach hobo bag that fits it just right. My kids begged to stop at the comic book store after school, and instead of hanging out in there waiting for them I’m web surfing on the free wifi at the coffee shop. One happy mama!

      • Yep, totally awesome. He was heading over the cliff and Mr R grabbed him by the seat of his pants and hauled him back up. Nothing but good grades and good reports this trimester; reading is still hard but he now pushes through it. It’s a dramatic turnaround, and I credit it all to this phenomenally talented teacher. Mr R is a bit . . . atypical. You don’t usually hear about elementary teachers in anger management programs, or hear your kid say it was a great day because Mr R didn’t lose his temper the whole day. But everything is right there on the surface with this guy, no filter or boundaries at all. Parents can walk in and out whenever we please, in fact he seems almost offended if he looks out the window and catches us waiting outside instead of relaxing on the old couch at the back of the room. And the kids worship him.

      • The tablet was a genuine indulgence, but it’s a little silly how happy I am with this consignment store purse. 😀

        And the comic book store? I’ve already spent more than enough time standing around that place. In real life they’re not as glamorous as they appear on the Big Bang Theory.

        • Liza used to go with her dad every Wednesday when the new comic books came in… she still does occassionally.. when she was five they’d let her ‘ring’ up her dad’s order and pay her with mini york peppermint patties.. it was kind of adorable.

  18. Erika – I’m so sorry for your loss. I have no great words of advice as far as when or if you should have another child. I’m happy with three and might have gone for 4 but we ran out of space in our car…what? It’s as good a reason for stopping as anyone’s. Thinking of you.

  19. Hugs Erika. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    I echo everyone’s recommendation to wait and see how that voice settles – into “3rd vs. done” as you mourn this loss and recover. I also echo the suggestion for a therapist. Mine has been so helpful. Although I still don’t have clarity on 2 vs. 3 myself… So what do I know? :-)

    FWIW, it was over three months after my miscarriage before I was recovered enough mentally to try getting pregnant again. If you need time, take that time. And give yourself that cushion, however long it may be, to mourn, to be uncertain, to heal.

  20. Gosh, what a shock that must have been. A roller coaster. I’m so sorry. Take care of yourself. To sort of echo what Elisa said, I think you do want a 3rd. From the things you have talked about here, it has sounded like you didn’t want to try for a 3rd because of how difficult it was to get pregnant, not because you wouldn’t enjoy being a mom of 3. I think not wanting to go through the stress and difficulty again is a very valid reason not to pursue a 3rd. But I also think it’s ok to want more!

    I have a lot of the same uncertainty about having a 3rd. I have 2 really great kids, and no where near enough time to do the things I’d like to enjoy with them. DH is stretched to his limits since we often have opposite work hours. So he really does have a good reason to oppose adding more to our family. He’s for sure happy with 2. I don’t exactly want another baby, but I don’t want to look back and wish I’d had one more. Hoping I don’t regret it isn’t a good enough reason for me to push harder to get DH on board, so I’ve let it go. I think I’ve told you all before that my uncle (who is a lot like my mom was in that day-to-day parenting was stressful, not enjoyable, they were strict and quick-to-anger) said if he’d known how cool it would be once they were all grown up, he would have had many more children. So I don’t know the answer to that one, other than I’m damn thankful I get to even contemplate my reproductive choices. And like I’ve said before, maybe we’re leaving room in our family for someone who will need us later, like my aunt and uncle have done with me.

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