Death, Fear and Impotence: A Rough Week

It has been a particularly rough week. The past 8 days have filled me with a deep and persisting sadness and a sense of anxiety I cannot shake.

The downward spiral started with the news last Thursday morning that a close and beloved friend had died – suddenly, unexpectedly, far too young – and left behind the two – just as suddenly and unexpectedly lost and shattered -individuals she loved most in the world. Her husband (like mine, many years her senior). Her son (the sole surviving twin of her one successful pregnancy).

My friend’s funeral was yesterday. I don’t even know where to start with all of the thoughts and feelings I have experienced in the past 8 days let alone at the funeral. The hardest part for me was witnessing how utterly devastated and devastatingly lost my friend’s dear husband – her soul mate if ever there were soul mates – is. He barely made sense when he spoke. His body looked as broken as his spirit must be. My heart shattered all over again. Life can be so cruel.

So cruel.

On Monday a good friend and fellow patient of Dr. Braverman found out her 9-week pregnancy was at an end. Her baby had died sometime in the preceding week. We have much in common. We are the same age give or take a few months. Her protocol is almost identical to mine. She transferred two embryos – as I did – three days after I did in mid-October. Only one of her embryos survived – same as me – despite both being PGD tested and chromosomally normal. My friend has lost numerous babies (first and second trimester) and has never had a living child. My heart broke anew when she told me. A part of wanted to curl up and die.

A bigger part became deathly afraid that I would be next. That fear has not left me despite some astute observations about the differences between my friend and I, the key one being I have carried a child to term. We know that at least once my body was capable of doing that.

Since Monday morning when I first heard from my friend about her devastating loss, I have tried to reschedule my next ultrasound from next week Monday to sometime this week. I could not get in. I tried seeing my doctor sooner than today in case she could requisition a stat ultrasound. I could not get in.

I tried – desperately would be an understatement – to find baby’s heartbeat on the doppler I bought last September before we lost that baby between 10 and 11 weeks (it does not help that I am 10w1d or 10w2d today depending which date we use to calculate gestational age, transfer or LMP). At the time I bought it that was the best quality one available. It is recommended for use from 12 weeks onward but the vendor indicated and user reviews suggested that many women got lucky at 10-12 weeks. Of course now the same vendor has just started selling a better model that reliably picks up by 10 weeks and can detect FHR at 8-10 weeks in many women (and its on sale for the same amount I paid last year – how’s that for bitter irony?).

I could not find anything but my own heart rate and the whooshing sound of a forming placenta. Trigger back to September 2013, right before the fateful stat ultrasound that confirmed what in my heart I already knew – “Mandy” had died.

In my fear-induced mania I ordered a more sensitive rental doppler – the same kind I used in the Miracle Toddler’s pregnancy with success as early as 8-9 weeks – and paid for expedited shipping. It was supposed to be here yesterday. It still has not are arrived. There may be a curse operating here. Who would have cursed me? Have I offended one of you badly? Please let me make amends – anything if you just remove this damned curse.

On top of all of this a little dog – and when I say little I mean think under 4 lbs though that was not his starting weight – who has wormed (or rice-grained?) his way into my heart is very sick and may be dying. I feel helpless and floundering here too because his human companions (let’s face it, his live-in nurses and chefs) will suffer their own devastation eventually in all of this (death may be protracted here but clearly inevitable) and I am (a) very far away so of zero practical assistance and (b) quite literally immobilized by my own myriad feelings around companion animal suffering and loss.

If I have one wish it is the echo of my friend E’s wish, that this little canine soul escape this world while he sleeps but to that wish I would add that this not happen during the Christmas holidays or the few weeks left leading up to it. I say this not for me but for E and especially for M. There is no good time for death to strike. But the holidays are particularly bad timing. I know. We lost a family pet right before Christmas too. The year after my Mom died. It sucked. A lot.

I have felt angry – eye-poppingly furious even – at God and Spirit and the Universe lately. Why take the lives of these beings who in the case of my friend was the embodiment of living kindness and in the case of my friend’s baby was too new to be anything but innocent? Why you stinking thieving scoundrels? Why? You all deserve a good swift punch in the throat. Or three hundred and ninety seven of them. I may enlist help. Sleep with one eye open scoundrels.

As I type this I feel rage boiling up. I know that feeling well. It is my safe harbour from engaging with the utterly helpless feeling and crushing sadness that has filled my heart and weighed down my soul these past eight days. I feel broken and small and impotent. Above all, I feel impotent. I can do nothing to change the horrible sequence of events that led to these two deaths. I can do nothing to ease the suffering of those who have survived their loved ones.

Yes, I know that there are things I can do. I can offer help (done). I can bring over things to make sure they eat or have food in their homes (in process) I can listen (done). I can cry with and for them (done).

Yet I know from losing my Mom and all of our babies that there is nothing anyone can do to take away this pain or the deep chasm it forges in a survivor’s life. Only the survivors can heal those wounds if they can be healed at all.

And in this moment I feel ashamed wallowing in my own fears of death – not my own but of little Azulito – and yet this is the abyss into which I have fallen and from which despite trying to get grounded and set intentions and practice positive thinking I cannot climb out. I am stuck in a place of intense terror. And at a fundamental level there is nothing I can do but wait to see which way the wind will ultimately blow over all of this. Alas, I am impotent here too.

Life can be so cruel.


39 thoughts on “Death, Fear and Impotence: A Rough Week

  1. I have been following your blog for a few months now. I feel so deeply for you and hope you can have peace and a smooth pregnancy. I have had 6 Ivf cycles and 5 chemical pregnancies, one being with donor egg. I’m 31 and just had a consultation with dr braverman. Hearing your strength and success with him so far has given me the courage to go down this immune protocol pathway. I have always been told I have lean pcos but dr braverman has now added this “silent” endometriosis diagnosis to my list. I will be having surgery with his colleague in a few weeks and am very nervous and praying this isn’t some type of scam for my money. I will then do a fet with donor egg and my husbands sperm. Thank you for your bravery and being an outlet for me in this isolating awful journey. ❀

    • Maureen, thank YOU for writing. I have wondered the same thing about the endo diagnosis and my longstanding acupuncturist thinks he is wrong to suggest it in my case but intuitively I think he is probably right although I very much doubt my case is particularly severe. Why the surgery if using DE? Did he say he thought it would substantially improve your chances of deep implantation (sounds like we share that issue, multiple implantation failures)? Im so sorry for your struggles and losses. Please feel free to be in touch privately if more comfortable (my email is on my About page). All the best with the surgery and FET. I truly hope this brings home the baby/ies of your dreams.

  2. Life is so cruel indeed. The pain, the agony, the loss- none of it makes sense. I can only offer you a big virtual hug. I also want to remind you that it is ok to protect yourself a little right now. As much as you are hurting for everyone around you- it is ok to put a little armor of protection for you to get through this hard time.

    • Thank you. That is an insightful and compassionate suggestion. I tell people entering my line of worj all the time that Compassion Fatigue is real. Thank you for reminding me it could happen to me too and not just through work. And many thanks for the hug!

  3. My dear friend, I’m sending you lots of love and light. The universe has a mysterious way of challenging us even more during our darkest times. I’m so sorry about the loss of your friend and the deteriorating health of your pup. I feel like the universe is testing your trust this week. We can’t always control the outcome and sometimes patience is the lessen to be learned. Hang in there. Trust that baby will be fine. Deep breaths. I know there is light at the end of this tunnel.

  4. I have been following your journey in silence mostly, but I so want to hug you right now that I read your post! I am deeply sorry for the loss o your friend and the baby of your friend! I know too well the feeling of loss and your feeling right now. But I pray that you find the strength inside of you, because dear, for someone to have lost so many babies to still be sane means strength is what best describes what you have! Hugs, hugs and many hugs, may Azulito surprise you with a big tump tump!

  5. Have been reading here a while and just wanted to send a note of support. So sorry things are this hard right now. It really isn’t fair at all, none of it. Hang in there. Be kind and gentle on yourself. These things take so much out of us. There are many of us cheering you and Azulito on. Sending wishes for some peace in these next week’s for you and your whole family. XO

  6. Oh, please don’t feel an iota of shame for your fear. The universe is nonsensical and cruel…. and like you, I am filled with so much anger. But you will climb out of it, I promise you. You are so strong – you are, even when you can’t believe it. And your strength – even when you can’t feel it – is feeding Azulito. Take deep breaths. Focus on your breathing. Try to practice something mindful that pulls you away from your fear, art or yoga, or a walk in nature. Sending you so much strength.

  7. The universe can be so cruel sometimes. I’m so sorry everything is so hard right now. My heart goes out to you and the families of your loved ones who are struggling. I truly hope Monday’s ultrasound brings you some much-needed peace. Take good care of yourself this weekend.

    • Thank you very kindly. A huge unexpected surprise – my doctor knows how anxiety provoking every little thing is and today she offered to try to find the HB with her fetal monitor even though she usually waits until 12-13 weeks. I had given up on her finding it when Bah Bum Bah Bum Bah Bum there it was. 170 beautiful beats per minute. I was so incredibly grateful and relieved.

      • I just got tears in my eyes. Don’t be creeped out by that though because last night I cried during a car commercial. πŸ™‚ I’m so glad you got that peace of mind!

  8. Oh love I’m so deeply sorry for your losses and debilitating fears. When it rains it pours and does it ever! I wish I could give you a hug so badly and tell you everything will be ok, but I know sometimes that just doesn’t do it. I sure hope that baby azulita is alive and well and growing in you and that you can have peace of mind at least for that. Xoxox

    • This support actually means heaps to me and does help. Sometimes being alone with all of our feelings and fears is so lonely and knowing I am seen and heard and supported makes a world of difference. Thank you.

  9. As someone who is not a stranger to anxiety spinning out of control, I am holding your hands and telling you that everything will be okay. I’m deeply sorry for your friend’s loss, and understand how so much of her journey parallels yours. We are all so invested in our baby-making journeys that we empathize on a much deeper level when there is loss. I hope the little dog finds peace. I hope that Azulita gives you some reassurance soon. Most of all, I hope that you become surrounded by good and hopeful things to restore you.

  10. My heart hurts reading this. I am sorry for the loss of your friend and your friend’s baby. I’m sorry to hear about the little dog. 😦 I wish you much, much light and love. Be kind to yourself and keep talking to Azulito. S/he is there and listening. ❀

  11. I am so very sorry for your loss of your friend hon. It’s just unthinkable. My heart goes out to you and to her husband and baby. Sending you a huge hug and calming peaceful energy to get to your next ultrasound appointment. I completely understand your fears and won’t even try to talk you out of worrying, but know I am sending you extra prayers that all is perfect with Azulito. Hope the more sensitive doppler arrives soon and eases your mind a bit. Huge hug hon. ❀

  12. OMG. I am so sorry about all that you are having to endure. God has a plan and sometimes we do not understand that plan. Your friend completed God’s purpose for her life here on Earth and now she peacefully sleeps in the arms of God. Find some comfort in the fact that she is at rest and loved you and everyone in her life.

    Make sure you keep calm and take care of the life God has entrusted to you !

    Praying for peace for you all ~


    • Thank you. I believe you are right about mg friend and i do take comfort in knowing she is save and surrounded with love. I also believe her spirit is near and egging on this baby. That would be her way. I take comfort and gratitude from that too.

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