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Just Call Me North Korea

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Just Call Me North Korea

…Can’t fire an effective missile.

I know, it’s a terrible joke.

And like me, you might be thinking it’s awful, but it’s so hard not to laugh.

"Just call me North Korea..." was the statement my husband Sam used to try and cheer me up after we found out about our fourth miscarriage yesterday (referring to his ability to produce sperm that don't have chromosomal abnormalities).

Obviously, neither the North Korea situation nor our recurrent losses are any kind of laughing matter… but sometimes humour really does help us cope with the shittiest of times (and I'll admit that I did have a good laugh when he said it to me).

If you’re not familiar with our story, this is the fourth miscarriage we have experienced in the last year, and we know that each time we get pregnant, our chances of a successful pregnancy are quite low due to my husbands balanced translocation.

We have both become fairly well adept at dealing with loss this past year, but the loss this time around has really shaken us.

We had our first scan at around 7 weeks, and it was fine. Our measurements were slightly behind schedule, but not enough to cause any kind of worry. For the next 3 weeks, I experienced a considerable amount of morning sickness (let’s call it “all day sickness”), which peaked at about 8.5 weeks and then slowly started to get better each day from there.

You might say that could have been some kind of sign of something being wrong, but honestly, I still had food aversions most evenings and my stomach was getting quite large, so I didn’t have any reason to believe anything was wrong until we went in for our ultrasound yesterday, at what should have been 10 weeks.

Unfortunately we were only measuring 7 weeks, 4 days, and there didn't appear to be a heartbeat.

It’s not as if we didn’t know it might not work out, I think we both just thought that the chances of having 4 losses in a row were surely not all that likely… but alas we were wrong, and we find ourselves dealing with another loss.

A loss is always difficult to take no matter the circumstances, and while it helps to know there’s nothing we can do (not naturally anyway) to control the outcome, it still doesn’t stop us questioning “why us?” and “how is this fair?”

Most times I feel like I have handled the emotional aspect of the losses quite well. I wouldn’t say I’ve been OK, I have obviously been upset and some days I have felt better than others, but over-all I’ve accepted what has happened relatively quickly and been able to move on reasonably well considering the circumstances.

Unfortunately, there is something about this time that I’ve found harder to take than the others.

I don’t know if I had convinced myself that it was going to be OK this time. Or maybe I had spoken to too many other people who had experienced success on their fourth go, and thought maybe we would get lucky too.

I always seem to hold in the back of my mind that I need to have some kind of hope, just in case that tiny bit of faith that “everything will be ok” somehow tips the scales and results in a good outcome.

Is it even possible to “wish” a bad outcome on yourself? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t want to dismiss the power of positive thinking either.

I also feel like I need to be grateful in some ways. The other alternatives for our situation could have been a stillbirth, a baby that didn’t live for long, or one that did survive, but had severe physical and mental disabilities. If we had made it to the 10 weeks we would have asked for a CVS, and once we found out there was a problem we would have needed to decide whether to terminate for medical reasons or wait to see what would happen... given the choice, I would prefer the outcome we have been dealt over other possibilities.

It still doesn’t make it any easier to take though. I don’t think any amount of reasoning is going to help right now.

To some extent, I am making assumptions. I don’t know for sure that this loss has been due to the balanced translocation until we get the test results back in a month or so. On one hand, I hope it is due to the translocation, at least that way I know there aren’t any new problems.

On the other hand, it would be nice if it wasn’t the translocation, just for the peace of mind that we can create an embryo that doesn’t have an unbalanced translocation (unfortunately we’re not exempt from other types of chromosomal abnormalities, much the same as the odds of 1 in 4 pregnancies ending in loss for the general population, which around 90% of the time is due to chromosomal problems) …but only time will tell I guess.

There’s no point in continuing to run the scenario’s through my head until we know exactly what happened.

On a totally different topic, and last but not least, my state of mind is not being helped by the fact that I took my cat Sebastian to the vet today (for what I thought would be a tooth extraction) only to find he couldn’t have the procedure due to concerns with his blood work… of which they are trying to determine whether he has a thyroid problem (unlikely) or potential liver disease/cancer. I'm hopeful that it's nothing serious, but preparing myself for the worst as it obviously doesn't look good.

Sometimes it feels like we just can’t catch a break?

It’s certainly not doing much to curb my feelings of helplessness at the moment, and even though I know we’re both very resilient and can get through this just like we have so many times before, it’s safe to say we’re both feeling quite defeated, frustrated and upset.

I’d love to end this post on a happy note, but I just don’t have one to share, and I don't see the point in pretending there is one, so I’ll leave it there for now.

Until next time…

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