Infertility Warrior: Larissa

Today on the blog I want to introduce you our infertility warrior Larissa. Larissa is pregnancy loss surviror as well as infertility warrior who is currently trying to conceive. Larissa openly shares her struggles with infertility on her Instagram and we are thrilled to have her here today to tell her story.

Q: Tell us a little about your infertility journey.

My infertility journey has been a mixed bag and I feel like it’s unique because I have been on both sides of the fence in a lot of ways. I’ve known early miscarriage, late miscarriage, thyroid disorder, and of course difficulties trying to conceive both before and after my losses. It’s been full of heartache but also bitter-sweet moments. I started actively trying to conceive in January 2018, but went off birth control in November 2017. My cycles were super long (48-60 days!) and being a nurse, I just knew something was wrong. I ended up being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in April 2018 and started taking Synthroid to improve my thyroid hormone levels. I then found out in June 2018 that by some miracle I got pregnant on a long cycle. I then found out at my second ultrasound in July 2018 that there was no fetal pole (“blighted ovum”), I took medication to terminate the pregnancy, hemorrhaged a few short hours later and ended up in the ER, then I had a D&C for retained product a month later, and then scar tissue that was discovered a couple months after that. It was the miscarriage that seemingly never ended. We had a procedure to investigate the scar tissue that was scheduled for January 2019 which then got pushed to February 2019. We decided to try to conceive in the months leading up to the procedure because there were minimal risk to a pregnancy with scar tissue, but were unsuccessful. We then tried to avoid getting pregnant the month leading up to my procedure because my procedure was going to fall before the end of my cycle. By some miracle, we again found out we were pregnant February 22, 2019 when they did a routine pre-op urine pregnancy test of my procedure. We were in complete and utter shock, but were so full of joy. It was our miracle baby and it seemed so meant to be. Unfortunately, this second miracle pregnancy ended at 19 weeks on June 3, 2019 when I spontaneously went into labour for reasons unknown. I had a baby boy and we named him Noah.

Q: What has been the hardest part?

The hardest part for me was the day I went into labour with Noah. That was by far the worst day of my entire life. Especially since Noah was already my rainbow baby and so quickly in the blink of an eye he was taken away. It was a dream that turned into a nightmare before I could even come to terms with what was happening. A part of me died that day when I lost my son. And trying to conceive after losing him has been equally as hard. The tsunami of grief that accompanies every failed month trying to conceive is just so hard. I have been trying to grieve the loss of my son while trying to conceive for another one and then grieving the loss of another failed month to achieve another pregnancy. It’s so complex and just utterly exhausting.

Q: What has been the best part?

The best part by far was the day I found out I was pregnant with Noah. I burst into tears I was shocked and was full of so much joy. The whole pregnancy I was just so thankful and felt so blessed. He was my little miracle. 

Q: Where are you now on this journey?

We have now been trying to conceive naturally since losing Noah, but have obviously had no luck. I have been using Estrosmart to try to regulate my cycles, the Clearblue Advanced Fertility monitor to detect high/peak fertility days, and Ava as another way to assist with detecting fertile days. And I now *finally* have an appointment with an OB at the end of March for fertility. No one ever takes me seriously because I’m so “young” and am “prime reproductive age” so I am so thankful to have that appointment.

Q: What is one question you wish people would stop asking?

“Are you pregnant yet?” Big eye-roll for this one. I have been so open about my journey and it is still so shocking to me that people still ask me this question. NO I’m NOT pregnant. And if I am, I will tell you – or maybe I won’t! Because honestly, it’s none of anyone’s business. It just makes me so upset when someone asks me this. I fee equal parts anger and complete sadness because I WISH I was pregnant. I have been struggling with the same question each month I get AF: why am I NOT pregnant yet?! So-and –so had a loss like mine and got pregnant a month later, so why can’t I?

Q: Anything you have learned that you would like to pass along?

I’ve learned a lot of things over the course of my journey, but here are a few of the most meaningful ones:
·       You can feel contradicting emotions; you can feel both and. I used to feel like if I felt sadness it meant I wasn’t thankful or if I felt joy it meant I didn’t miss my babies or if I was thankful I couldn’t also be angry about my circumstances. It was freeing when I realized I can feel all of the above at the same time. You get permission to feel all the feels.
·       No matter how early a miscarriage you have, you are a mom. And you can name your baby even if it was so early you didn’t even know the gender. I wish that I knew that after my first loss because I feel so much guilt that we never named our first baby. And now it just seems too late to name it.
·       You are not alone but at the same time, you can feel valid that this journey is frustrating, unfair, and painful no matter how many people also struggle with infertility/pregnancy loss. I struggled with because often people would say to me, “You aren’t alone I know so many people who have also struggled with fill-in-the-blank.” This comment was really nice of people to say, but it also felt like they were cheapening or invalidating my experience because it was common which it isn’t.
·       It’s ok to get help and see a counsellor. I fought a long time before recognizing I needed help to process everything I was going through. I wish I had known I could get help sooner.

Q: Anyone or anything that has inspired you along your journey?

Three things have inspired me the most to help me get through this journey.

Number 1: My faith. I would not have made it this far without my faith in Christ. I am unashamedly a Christian and I am thankful for it each day. It is apart of who I am.

Number 2: All the amazing women who form the infertility community. Seriously, everyone is so incredible and has been able to encourage me through this journey. I don’t know where I’d be without this community as I just have so little support otherwise.

Number 3: My counsellor. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without her. I still go regularly every 2-4 weeks. She gives me a safe space to talk about how I’m really feeling, validates me, and gives me tools to help me cope and process what I’ve been through. She has also had a loss too and can empathize on another level because she knows personally what it’s like to lose a baby.

Q: Any resources or other accounts you would like to share that you found helpful during or after your journey?

There are so many! But here are a few of my favourites:

·       Now I lay me Down to sleep ( This organization is incredible. They sponsored a professional photographer to take photos of my husband and I with Noah in the hospital and provided several printed images that were put together in a photo book for us. They also sent me emails about once a week for several weeks after my loss with encouraging words and articles. They were the first organization that really helped pull me through the initial trauma of grief.

·       @as_im_waiting: I love Dani’s Instagram. She is a Christian girl also struggling with infertility. It is equal parts encouraging, real, and funny. Her stories specifically are amazing as she has a variety of different ways you can interact. I have found her very encouraging and relatable. She is one of the first accounts I followed and I am so thankful I did. She is one of the accounts I interact with regularly.

·       @letstalkinfertility: this is an account that posts anonymous infertility stories and discussions. It is so helpful to be able to read about others journeys and to discuss the ups and downs of infertility. They post both success stories and honest stories of those currently struggling with infertility.

·       Still Standing Mag ( A magazine that has articles written by women who have lost children, a majority of them have had miscarriages and stillbirths. I found it so encouraging to be able to read raw articles written by women who were in the same boat as me. It made me feel less alone.

·       You are the mother of all mothers by Angela Miller: A friend who also had a late miscarriage around the same time I did bought this for me. I keep it by my bedside table and read it often. It is a short illustrated book of truth statements for moms who have lost a child. It helps reinforce that moms of loss ARE mothers and that losing their child is NOT their fault.

·       Molly bears ( I am so thankful for this organization. They create cuddle-able bears that are the exact same weight as your angel baby. I love mine so much and it has helped me to have something tangible to remember Noah by.

·       @momsinthemaking: this is a faith based organization that has a lot of resources and groups for women who have had a loss. They do fun things like Christmas Card exchanges, prayer partners, etc. I have found this so helpful as it has helped me connect to other women who are in a similar spot as me. A lot of them I talk to daily.

·       @hilariouslyinfertile: This account is just so funny and has made me laugh often. Infertility through her eyes is raw and just hilarious. Worth a follow for sure!

Q: Where can people find out more about you? (Instagram, Facebook)

·       My Instagram account @riss.inthewaiting.

·       I also have a blogging website and I post blog posts less frequently, but I have a few posts written on there that are raw from right after my most recent loss. I grapple a lot with suffering and faith on my blog trying to make sense of what I’ve gone through.

·       My ultimate goal through my Instagram account and blogging website is to raise awareness about miscarriage, stillbirth, infertility and to hopefully help others along the way.

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