My Womb is a Graveyard: Healing Body & Mind

It seems I undergo some kind of holistic makeover every time we suffer a substantial loss.  This time is no different.

Although this most recent pregnancy loss happened very early, it was substantial.   It was, in fact, uniquely shocking and revelatory because it was the first time we had tried donor eggs to avoid the recurrent early pregnancy loss I’ve been experiencing with my own “old” (in the words of Western Medicine) eggs.  This is not “just another chemical pregnancy” to me.  It is a slap in the face, a billboard blaring that something inside me is not working as it should, something that means my womb does not sustain the tiny lives that have implanted there.  My womb has become a graveyard, regardless of whether the eggs are my own or that of some young, healthy, proven donor.  This has been a painful and terrifying realization. 

My womb is a graveyard.

Holy crap.  My womb is a graveyard.

And nobody seems to know why. I could get some expensive, uninsured testing done (beyond the RPL panel adn karyotype testing that came back normal).  That might give me some answers.  It might not.  Some of those answers might be misleading.  Some may not.

One thing I do know is that both my body – particularly my immune system – and my mind are ailing.  They need my help.  The straw has broken the proverbial camel’s back and the camel is laid up, in need of much care.

My spirit – so buoyant, so confidant, so certain that this last pregnancy was The One – is flagging.  I am excited and  happy for my pregnant friends and fellow bloggers, but the happiness and excitement is underwritten with a deep, quiet sadness and a nagging fear that I will not be joining them on the other side of the Infertility or Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Planets we once occupied together.  I still have friends here, on Planet WTF, and I am not grateful I do – I wish you all would leave and join our other friends and fellow bloggers on Planet Pregnant and Planet Newborn.  I sincerely wish that for all of us.  But wishes are not enough.

Wishes are not enough.

I have spent this past week mulling, as I often do post-loss.  I ruminate so well, I could have been a bovine.  In the two weeks since we found out our DE baby was not going to make it, I’ve given up the daily meditations and affirmations.   I had some wine, but it only made me feel more sad and lonely (it’s so surreal to feel lonely when I have family around, but this experience has taught me a whole new realm of loneliness that maybe one day I will write about) so I gave that up as soon as I started it.  I used to love wine, I even enrolled in a part-time sommelier course once (while practicing law – talk about a Type-A overachiever). I ended up not going to the course as work interfered, but I can say that although I would love to be a sommelier instead of a lawyer, it’s not in the cards.  My passion is gone.  Not just for wine.  For everything, it seems.

And this, my friends, all of this is why I need to heal body and mind.  Something has snapped.  My womb is a graveyard.  And my heart and spirit are broken.  Not forever.  But they need help.  They need to heal, as does my immune system, which seems to have gotten more out of whack with each of our 6 failed pregnancies since March 2013.

I’ve been working on that – I have been reading about and following in my usual adapted way an anti-inflammatory diet.  Right now I’m reading Julie Daniluk’s Slimming Meals That Heal, not because I am trying to lose weight but because I liked the recipes in it better than her first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation, although I looked at that one, too.  I’ve also been reading and tried a couple of recipes (adapted because that’s what I do) from Dr. Jessica Black’s More Anti-Inflammation Diet Tips and Recipes.

This morning, in a burst of ambition, I also downloaded an app with meditations for healing your immune system by Dr. Bernie Seigel, whose meditations I listened to on my original acupuncturist’s advice while struggling to get and stay pregnant during round one of our fun with fertility challenges (2010-2012).  If interested, you can check out the app here or Dr. Seigel (a retired general and pediatric surgeon) here.  I have yet to listen to any of the meditations on the app (which are derived from a double CD set for healing the immune system that you can find on Seigel’s website) but plan to start doing so tonight.  I can’t bring myself to listen to any more fertility-related meditations for fear I may carve out my own eyes in doing so.

Finally, I’ve been re-reading The Mind-Body Fertility Connection by James Schwartz.  My hypnotherapist is currently on maternity leave (of course she is, why wouldn’t she be?) so I’m not seeing anyone right now but I might raise this for discussion and a referral with my acupuncturist, the TCMD, when I see her this coming Saturday.  I’ve been re-reading the parts of Schwartz’s book that address the science behind the mind-body connection. 

On the topic of our mind-body connection, I’ve considered ordering the Audiobook, Magical Mind, Magical Body by Deepak Chopra, MD.  It’s been around over a decade so I’m hoping one of you has listened to it and is willing to share your thoughts.  I would be deeply grateful to hear from you if so – please comment below or e-mail me:

Before any of you start reassuring me that my womb is not really a graveyard, please know that I appreciate this.  I am aware that my womb is not literally or even metaphorically a graveyard.  It just feels that way in my broken heart.  I know, too, that I cannot think of my body in this way if I am ever to successfully carry another child to term or close enough that said child joins the land of the living.  Hence the focus on self-care, healing and the mind-body connection.  Just in case you thought you needed to console me about my beleagured uterus, please don’t.  It is going to be okay, come what may.  Someday.  In my head, I know that, even if I have trouble believing it or embracing the belief in my heart these days.



25 thoughts on “My Womb is a Graveyard: Healing Body & Mind

  1. I am so very sorry for all that you are going through and have been through. I am glad you are able to move toward self care and healing. ❤

    • Thank you. I don’t see an alternative, I’ve done the sleeping pills and anti-anxiety meds. I suppose I could foster an addiction. I think I’ll stick to healing and pray for a different outcome next time. What else is there if you’re not ready to give up?

  2. What a deeply honest, soul searching post. During my most recent pregnancy loss I remember trying to come to terms with the fact that I had something dying inside me, that I was carrying death around every second of every day. It still haunts me now, even months later.

    I hope that as you check out books and meditations and other supports you are able to find some peace.

    • Thank you so much for sharing and for your kind comment. It is haunting, I have said too many times “I have a dead/dying baby in me” in a burst of rage/tears that shocked even me (and always shocks the LP, who is the only one subjected to these outbursts, which are usually accompanied by “How would YOU feel?” which of course is a cruel, ridiculous question for the one you love, who is also suffering the same damned loss).

      Thanks for your hope; I hope so, too. I also hope your journey leads you to a sustained pregnancy and a take-home baby. I’m really sorry you are struggling and still haunted, too.

  3. I can very much relate to this post, not that I’ve ever thought to use the word graveyard. I get the loss of passion, and the feeling of being broken.
    I wish you strength as you continue to move through this. I’ve never been a big believer in alternative medicine, so I am very curious how you find meditations and such treatments work for you.

    • I probably wouldn’t be counting 6 losses in less than 18 months if it were not for the other modalities (“alternative medicine”), for better or for worse (I choose, perhaps naively, perhaps as a matter of survival, to view each pregnancy as a chance at success, despite my lousy history). And I know we wouldn’t have our one living child without some of them (acupuncture and TCM specifically). I fought meditation, yoga, all kinds of granola for so long but I’ve seen it work, I know it works. There is a heap of science behind the mind-body connection so I would be a fool to deny its existence objectively but subjectively I know that meditations and hypnosis can allow us to heal our bodies using our minds. As I say, I’ve seen it. In short, I’m a firm believer despite my initial misgivings. But to each her own. We each do what speaks to and “fits” for us.

  4. Another beautifully written post… even through the heartache and dark days you still have a little humor to share with us. I think this solidifies the point that you need a break. These repeated heartbreaks take a toll and you need to heal your soul a bit before pressing onward again. I find shifting focus helpful hence my recent delve into the practical and material structure of my life. You may want to consider testing out an autoimmune diet protocol if you have immune issues. Even if they’re not autoimmune I would think this could help. I can recommend two resources – Sarah Ballantyne aka The Paleo Mom and Dr. Terry Wahls. Both have books and websites. Also I know Dr. Wahls’s book is on Audible if you prefer to listen than actually read.

    • Thank you, I really appreciate your support and am very grateful for both suggestions. I was already on a paleo diet and I cut out gluten the month before the DE cycle that just ended in another loss. I cut out dairy late last year/early this year as I’ve developed a quite obvious reaction that’s part of what has clued me into the fact that my immune system is struggling.

      I am going to check out Wahls and Ballantyne and in the meantime I am wishing you peace, love, kindness and… ultimately, success. Oh, and a big gratitude-filled hug.

  5. Graveyard. Barren, Desolate. We need to choose a new word! That one isn’t going to cut it. It may be a graveyard for now, but hopefully not forever. I haven’t read the Deepak book, but I am keen to check out the Mind-Body Fertility Connection. I’m actually surprised I haven’t read that one yet. I know Circle & Bloom has some egg & embryo donation meditation programs – maybe they would help for the next cycle? I know a few people who have gotten pregnant after listening to them, but it hasn’t worked for me (yet).

    • You know I love you. Thank you. Now don’t take personally while I rant against Joanne whatever-her-name-is, the owner of Circle and Bloom. Her voice drives me batty (and was the basis for the carve-out-my-own-eyes reference ;-)) but… that said, I own every single freakin’ meditation program she has ever created except if she has a surrogacy one. They work. They help. She still drives me bonkers. But I used the DE one for my most recent cycle and I’ll use it again next time. In the meantime, I’m taking a break from C&B. 😉

        • Ha! In our pregnancy that ended at 10 weeks last summer/Fall, I listened first thing in the morning and at night because I had the same problem. I’m sure falling asleep to her irritating voice has taken years off my life! I will definately go back to them, but I’m happy to be on a break from them, too.

  6. I’m so very sorry your body and mind hurt so much hon. I’m praying you’ll feel a bit better after seeing your acupuncturist. I know I always do. I also hope she will give you some great tools and new suggestions for healing and anti inflammation. It sounds like you’re already doing a lot of great things, but she may have a few new things to offer. As always, I’m sending you light, warm and peace, and the biggest virtual hug ever ❤

    • Ugh, yeah, um, sorry to be such a downer. I just needed to be honest. Cheerleader me has had a breakdown. 😦

      I know I sound like a broken record but I really do appreciate the kindness and support you send my way – it means the world to me. Thank you. I hope you know I’m always thinking of you, too, and keeping you and that beautiful little baby of yours in my prayers.

      • You are not a downer! You’ve gone through so much in the past year. You’re amazing! I’m always here, always! And likewise! Thanks! You’re support means so much too!

  7. Take your time and do what you need to do to get your body and mind to a better place. And if wine is a no go, I would try whatever sounds appealing – like cake. Or pie. But good cake is really healing for me. I hope you can do some physically healing things for yourself too, like gentle walks in nature and scheduling a massage (even just a foot rub). And try not to pressure yourself to feel one way or the other. That’s what I’ve been working on with my meditation group – just noticing feelings as they arise and trying not to judge them. Telling them hello and then watch them sail away on a sweet little boat. Sending love.

    • You sound so zen-like and peaceful talking about your meditations – how wonderful!
      Thank you so much for the kind words, the compassionate suggestions and above all the love. I don’t really like sugar or sweets, but I do think perhaps a salty, fatty, totally not-good-for me curry and a massage are in order – thanks for planting the seed!

  8. Oh sweetie this hurts so much. I understand how you must be feeling, I’ve often felt that a graveyard was the best way to describe my womb too. Your focus on healing and regeneration is so key and I support you in whatever route you choose to do that. Acupuncture, anti inflammatory diet, mind body connection, I’ve done it all and honestly can say it does help. All helps to repiece your body and soul together. I read Schwartz’s book at the lowest point in our journey and it really spoke to me. I hope it helps you. I also recommend Meditation Oasis’s podcasts. My favourites are let it be and letting go, they really helped me through a horrible horrible time. Take each day at a time, thinking of you xxx

    • As always, you are at the ready with such profound grace. Thank you.
      I’ve read Schwartz’ book twice already, actually (once at what I thought was my lowest point but I think this may actually be lower, just less dramatically so), so clearly I find it grounding as well. I will check out those Meditation Oasis podcasts, I used one quite a bit last summer but we had an electronic equipment crash and I lost its whereabouts. Did you do hypnosis? I really liked it when I was at an incredibly dark place – I liked that my therapist gave me a recording I could replay. I had a love/hate relationship with EFT though I know plenty of others swear by it. I think I have my toolbox, I just need to settle in and indulge the self-care, regardless of whether it gets us another living child or not. For now this is about healing me, irrespective of outcome.

      I hope all is well with you and wee Nacho (who cannot possibly be so wee anymore ;-)).

  9. Sigh, i can relate to popping pills as the effortless response to pain and the intensity of overwhelming life circumstances. Self-care and real healing takes so much work, doesn’t it? I know there’s no other way, but I wanted to acknowledge the incredible labor and tenacity involved in the kind of healing that you are committed to — the words all sound nice but the process is so arduous that we wouldn’t take it on if we thought there was another way of surviving (and ultimately, thriving). Also, not sure if this is at all relevant for you but I’ve been hearing a lot about AHCC and Kinoko supplements for auto-immune disorders. I don’t know if you need to go the other direction or if your immune system is over-active but thought I would mention it — my BIL is starting to take these just as a measure to avoid illness as he’s a hospital physician who used to get sick all the time. But cancer and Lupus and MS patients report incredible results with these supplements which I’ve read is part of standard cancer care in Japan. Anyway, I’ll be thinking of you in the coming months and I hope you feel some relief and peace from this moratorium on making demands (and judgements) on your body. It’s been doing all it can — the fact that you’ve been pregnant as often as you have in these past years is testament to how valiant your body has been in trying to reach your aspirations. Much love to you.

    • My eyes filled with tears reading your comment, I can feel the love and compassion you shared. I am touched and very grateful.

      My very basic understanding of one of the intended functions of AHCC is to support Natural Killer (NKa) cell activity at least in cancer patients. The RE has raised and I had independently researched and wonder about whether I have over-active NKa in my uterus when the embryos implant. The blood test is not a reliable indicator and I’d be paying out of pocket for an endo biopsy so his suggestion was to provide the treatment assuming I do have this. I am comfortable with doing so. I know so little about AHCC but my fear is that it seems to be aimed at the very thing we are trying to prevent with the intralipids and steroids. I really appreciate you bringing it up however because I hadn’t thought of it and of course this is all a giant experiment at this point.

      You’re right – the work is heavy and hard. I wouldn’t do this if I felt there was any viable alternative. I am trying to see it as an end in itself and not just a means to an end. But that doesn’t make the load any lighter or the reason for recognizing the need for it any less devastating. Thank you so much for acknowledging that. Your support and the love you send mean so much to me.

  10. I just want to say, I understand. I share your “deep, quiet sadness and nagging fear” that I won’t join my wonderful (virtual) friends on the other side of this nightmare. So much so that I spend a significant amount of energy internalizing what that outcome might feel like and preparing for the worst. Then of course I spend an equal amount time researching and trying to heal my “condition” with lots of late-night reading that sucks even more energy out of me. Between mothering one LC, working a truly life-consuming day-job (I too have a legal background), and trying to come out of the experience of RPL with my sanity intact, my energy is $%^&ing spent. And I know you are writing from that spent place. As your heart heals, your energy will return. I promise.

    And I also understand the impulse to view self-care as an end, rather than a means to an end. With that in mind, I have come to realize that so much of my self-care has been “means-driven” no matter how much I say the contrary out loud. Take acupuncture: it’s calming, but I can’t honestly say I would be laying out the money it requires if I didn’t believe my fertility weren’t at stake. Can I ever just experience a beautiful massage and not think on the table “maybe this will relax me and (fill in the blank….)” SO I am on a new personal mission, to get to a place where I feel joy/peace *just because* without any strings attached. I want to recapture that joy from a simpler time, when a massage just *felt good* rather than “it felt good because it was a means of calming myself down from the stress of reading OPKs.” I’m not by any stretch there yet, but a girl can dream.

    • Thanks for commiserating and relating to my crap. I actually do enjoy acupuncture for the sake of going – like today, when I went to tell my current acupuncturist in person that I wouldn’t be seeing her for several weeks while my original acupuncturist tries to sort out my immune issues and general messed-up-ness. The appointment isn’t for immune or fertility issues and so I just got to chill out… until she told me that a mutual friend had her baby way too freakin’ early and said baby weighed only 4 lbs and then I spent the afternoon worrying about my friend, her baby, her older kids, her husband and about exactly why I’m so scared of deliberately creating a potential risk of premature childbirth by putting back two embryos… So much for a nice, relaxing throw-away treat acu appointment!

      I hate OPKs. Can I just say that? I hate hate hate them. And HPTs. I hate those pee sticks that have fostered a sickness I will never cure (I need a 12-step program for my pee stick addiction. I am not kidding). I am sure I have PTSD symptoms up the yin yang (or the hoo-ha?). In short, we will never be the same and we may never have more than the one child we each have now. If that’s the hand life ultimately deals me, I will live. It’s the time in between now and figuring out what’s in that ultimate hand that is sucking the joy out of living. And that’s something I need to turn around.

      You know, my energy levels have been good – in part I think due to the self care and the slow period I’m in at work (a blessing on one hand, a source of great stress for someone who’s income depends on billable hours on the other hand). It’s the mood and mental health that are in the toilet. More like an outhouse – it smells like crap in here. 😉

      Thanks for chiming in. Your comments are always reassuring even when we’re mostly commiserating. I do so hope you get to cross over to the land of rainbow babies and unicorns and all other stuff that seems hard to believe in right now.

  11. Hi, I arrived here from Stirrup Queens blog roundup and wanted to commiserate too. I always referred to mine as “the poisonous uterus” rather than a graveyard but I know the feeling well. Your many paths to healing sound encouraging and I hope your mind and body feel some change. ❤

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