Thanks for that

So I haven’t posted about faith or religion since an earlier post a few months ago.  Basically, I’m at a place in my life where I really don’t believe that there’s a god out there.  I’d link to that post, but I’m completely blog-illiterate, so sorry about that :), it’s out there, I promise.

I had a massively frustrating exchange with someone from our old church that I just had to write about.  My husband and I did join a church back when I was pregnant with Sweetie.  He believes that our child(ren) (if they are ever plural) should have the opportunity to choose to go to church if they want to (he didn’t grow up with religion at all), so we were exploring that.  We were very active and great attenders in the church for almost 2 years- every week through my pregnancy and then thereafter with Sweetie.  Sweetie was baptized as an infant in this church.  We attended all the youth group fundraisers, tithed and pledged money for building fundraisers, and we went to Mommy and me playdates in the church nursery.  Then I had miscarriage #4 (after having Sweetie) and we just stopped doing anything.

Slowly, it began to hit me that not one freaking person from the church ever reached out or asked us why we weren’t there.  No calls, emails, nothing.  Sweetie and I were enrolled in a toddler midweek music class and we stopped going- the teacher never once contacted us.  Yep, that’s the ‘Christian’ response, I guess.

I did continue to get little mailings of monthly newsletters for Sweetie telling me all about her important Christian milestones we should be meeting- (think little prayers to do with your 18 month old, little Christian stories to act out during bathtime with your 19 month old, etc).  After losing my Abby, I contacted the youth pastor who sends those out and told her they needed to stop because every month they are just painful.  I don’t need monthly reminders that my one and only living baby is growing up and I don’t know that I’ll ever get a chance to do this again.  She sent me a page full of Bible verses talking about how loving God is and how he’s so sad for us, too.  Oh and some more shit about ‘God’s plan’ and it’s ‘ok to be angry with God’.  Lovely, but I just didn’t respond.  Not worth it.

I finally got an email from someone in the mom’s group at church this past weekend.  I haven’t seen this mom in over a year and a half.  She asks me how ‘my baby’ is doing and said we should come to a particular fall church event.  Um, yes, Sweetie was probably 5 months and a baby when she saw her last, but that question just kills me after my latest losses.  Sweetie is full-blown toddler going on teenager, just not a baby anymore.

I thanked her for the invite and just said I was busy so wouldn’t be attending.  Then she pushes and says that my husband should bring Sweetie as ‘Christian fellowship is so important for toddlers’.  I then replied thanks again, but we aren’t doing anything with the church anymore.  I left it at that and was very polite.  Then she asks why not.  Finally, I replied back that I’ve had 6 miscarriages and lost my fertility after the last loss and I really don’t want to be involved with church or God right now.  Then I get back the lovely Christian spew email telling me about Job and his trials and how he didn’t lose faith or curse God.  And that I should take comfort that God is holding my babies in heaven.  Oh, and God send his only son to earth to die, so he knows the grief of losing a beloved child better than anyone.   Wait- it gets better:  With God nothing is impossible and he works miracles every day.

So now I want to seriously go off on this lady.  I know I’m kind of bipolor- I am pissed that no one from the Church ever bothered to care or ask about us, but then when they do, it also pisses me off.  So there’s no winning with me, I’ll acknowledge that.

But seriously, I don’t know where these people get off.  Does it really help most other people (ie, not me) to read random Bible verses and to hear that because God killed off all of Job’s family and he remained faithful, that I should remain faithful to?   Maybe I’m just in the very small minority, but I don’t see how shaming someone for how they are grieving by comparing them to a Biblical character is helpful.

I should have just ignored the last email.

I just told her that I wasn’t Job.  And I do curse God, on the rare days where I still believe he exists (and they are getting rarer).  And that I wish if he were God that he would just strike me down with lightening for cursing him, rather than making me live through the continual hell of him killing my babies.  And I think I said something about Mary not having 6 miscarriages with her ‘immaculate conception’, so obviously when it’s important to God, he doesn’t cause a miscarriage or kill a healthy baby.  Oh, and he supposedly raised his Son in 3 days from the dead, so when God wants to bring back my babies to life, maybe I’ll believe in his miracles.

Yes, it felt good to write that.  And I was really, really nice the first two emails, so I really don’t fly off the handle immediately.  I should have learned after the first time that just not responding is the better response to the spew.

 

I should be ‘used to this’?

Oh my goodness, just when you think you’ve heard it all…

I had a husband of a not-so-close friend* tell me that he was sorry to hear that I miscarried, but that his wife (my not-so-close friend) said she thought I was ‘used to it by now’.

I pretty much choked on the bite of pasta salad in my mouth and said ‘no, you don’t really ever get ‘used to’ your babies dying’ and got up and walked out to the bathroom.  And texted my husband from the bathroom, telling him that I would be sitting in the car for the rest of the party or until he could get his behind out to the car.  We left 5 minutes later.  Now I’m home and still shaking.

Is that really what people feel for those of us who have Recurrent Pregnancy Loss?  That it’s like working out and the first time makes you really sore, but it gets easier/better each time?  Seriously?!

Stupid people SUCK.

*She only knows my history because she’s in my mom’s group and a mutual friend told her.  She is not someone who I would ever have shared my story with, which I guess makes this worse.

How sensitive should doctors be?

I called my OB’s office today to discuss setting up a pre-conception appointment.  IF I do try again (and this is still a BIG, BIG if), I wanted to understand what medications she would support me being on and how she would manage dosing.  Some things would need to be started far before a positive beta level, so I need to know in advance that we’re ready.  I asked the receptionist if we could meet in the doctor’s office for the consultation instead of one of the pregnancy exam rooms.  I don’t think I’ll do as well concentrating if I have stirrups and an ultrasound machine sitting there when in the back of my mind I’ll be thinking that my baby should be at viability (24 weeks) instead of me sitting there discussing my 8th attempt at pregnancy.  The receptionist was pretty darned rude and said she had never heard of such a request and she didn’t see the point.  I politely asked if she could check with my OB.  Sigh….  Is it really so hard to understand that a grieving mom wouldn’t want to be in a prenatal room to have a sad conversation about trying yet again?

I think most women who have had a miscarriage can point to some moment where a doctor or doctor’s office has been hurtful or insensitive.  I’ve heard some pretty awful stories:

– Getting a call 2 weeks after her D&C to tell her she’s being charged for a missed prenatal appointment that day and reminding her how important prenatal care is for the health of her baby

– Having to sit in the waiting room full of pregnant women waiting to have a follow-up post miscarriage

– Mixing them up with a pregnant patient (asking them to pee in a cup for a protein screen) and then taking it back and saying ‘oh, you’re not pregnant anymore, we don’t care about this for you’

– Hearing some of those awful ‘things not to say to a grieving mother’ straight from your OB (Ie, you’re young, try again- you’ll be pregnant again in no time, the baby would have had a birth defect anyway and you don’t want that)

– Having a receptionist tell you that you need to reschedule your appointment after waiting for the OB for 30 minutes because ‘Your doctor has to go deliver a baby for a new mom right now.  You can wait, she can’t (insert laughter like this is some joke).’

Anyway, what responsibility do doctors have to being sensitive and training their office staff to be thoughtful and sensitive?  I guess I feel that OBs should be held to a very high standard on this.  I think if miscarriage is really as common as they say (1 in 4 women will have a miscarriage) that they should be far better at handling it.  It’s an unfortunate part of working in the field of obstetrics and if they are not regularly addressing sensitivity with their staff, they shouldn’t be practicing.  They should be recommending support groups and making it easier for patients to understand what happened and what their options are.  They should have some times set aside when their office isn’t packed with pregnant women so that those who need to follow-up post miscarriage have a place to go.  At the very least, they could put these women in an exam room right away rather than making her sit there with tons of pregnant women.

The exam rooms should not have a gajillion pictures of babies- is that too much to ask?  My OB has a lot of exam rooms, I think one could easily be dedicated to just gynecological patients (and moms who have had a miscarriage could go there).  Nope, all of them are equipped with ultrasound machines and posters of babies and ultrasounds at various developmental stages.

Another group that I think should be better-  IVF clinics.  I have been into at least 4 different IVF clinic offices that have bulletin boards packed with happy pictures of babies that are the success stories, but how does that feel to the woman who hasn’t had her success story yet?  Shouldn’t IVF professionals be the first people to be sensitive to how a grieving mother or infertile woman might feel?

Am I expecting too much?  I don’t expect the general population to screen out messages that might make a grieving mom feel awful or an infertile woman feel sad.  I know that everyone in the world cannot walk around on egg shells around me.  I don’t expect my Facebook feed to be clear of pregnancy announcements or newborn pictures (but I do try to move them off my status feed).  But I really feel like the medical professionals that work with women should take that extra step to being sensitive to all their patients.  What do you think?  Am I being unreasonable?