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Are hope and positivity in any way helpful?

(22 Posts)
BipBippadotta Sun 06-Dec-15 11:18:19

So in the past 14 months I have gone through the stillbirth of a completely healthy baby girl at full term due to a ruptured umbilical cord, followed shortly by a mmc at 9 wks due to trisomy 16, and am now very likely facing another mc at 8 wks as baby has an enormous yolk sac (8.5mm), which is highly indicative of genetic issues and pregnancy failure.

I have been turned inside out with grief and horror this year and don't know how much more I can stand. I feel utterly broken.

I've spent a lot of time on the internet, looking for others' experiences of large yolk sacs, and am really puzzled by people's exhortations not to lose hope, because of that 1 in a million chance things might be OK despite all evidence & medical research to the contrary.

This is a genuine question - assuming magic doesn't exist, what good does it do to hope for a vanishingly unlikely positive outcome? Does having had hope help at all when things go to shit anyway? Does anyone have experiences they can share, one way or the other?

BipBippadotta Sun 06-Dec-15 12:52:05

Anyone? I know this is a bit of a philosophical question...

But I am genuinely interested to know if hope helps anyone deal with bad news, as for me hope only makes things that much more bitterly sad when they fuck up.

CMOTDibbler Sun 06-Dec-15 13:08:55

For me, no. I had three miscarriages in a row, and by the third I could only cope by just taking things as they came and not 'thinking positive'.

You have had a terrible 14 months, and I can't imagine the horror of losing your beautiful little girl followed by miscarriages. Are you getting some help to let you talk about things?

Vap0 Sun 06-Dec-15 13:26:21

I don't understand why people always say there is still a chance when you know there isn't. It drives me a bit nuts when you know things aren't right and people say you should think positively but I don't know what difference that can possibly make. Having hope and thinking positively I think makes it much worse in the long run, I've tried being positive and hoping for the best but in my book I just expect the worst and it makes the losses slightly easier to take.

I've never heard of large yolk sac issues. Best of luck. I'm sorry you've had such a horrific time this year. I hope 2016 is a better year for you xxx

BipBippadotta Sun 06-Dec-15 13:46:48

Thanks, CMOT. And I'm so sorry to hear about your 3 miscarriages - how dreadful. I'm with you on the taking things as they come. Do you have DC?

I'm lucky in that I have loads of support - my DH is amazing and is the only one who really gets it, having been through all of this with me. Everyone else seems to want to blow rainbows up my ass.

BipBippadotta Sun 06-Dec-15 13:54:47

Thanks, vap0. And I'm sorry for your losses too.

It's weird, isn't it - people get so insistent that it isn't over till it's over, etc, and I end up patiently trying to explain statistics and convince other people of quite how doomed my pregnancy is, which makes everyone uncomfortable while I seem like some sort of obsessive misery-laden weirdo.

What I can't understand is why doctors do this! If I had a penny for every doctor who refused to run any tests and said 'there's no reason you won't have a perfectly healthy pregnancy next time...' based on no evidence derived from my own situation, just averages. And I'm already an outlier in terms of age (38) and obstetric history (4 pregnancies, 0 live births).

I hope 2016 will at least let me move on with my life. I suppose I'm hoping to stop hoping and move forward a bit.

CMOTDibbler Sun 06-Dec-15 16:27:43

I did eventually have ds after a very stressful pregnancy and then prem birth. The midwives kept telling me to relax and 'enjoy it' but they just couldn't understand that it wasn't that easy when things kept going wrong

RoTo72 Sun 06-Dec-15 16:37:02

Hi so sorry for your losses. I went for 10 week scan and they saw a 6 week baby but no heartbeat. Was told may have dates wrong (iv endemeteosis and cycle all over the place so was a possibility). After a day r two grieving I convinced myself docs were right, even tho they only said it was a chance. Over the next two weeks I still felt pregnant. Still had symptoms and still had a bump. Second scan confirmed what I knew deep down, baby dies at 6 weeks. I was matter of fact about things, discussing options. I went home and it hit me, I have been crying practically non stop since. I had d&c on 27th. So no, I don't think being hopeful helps, if u know yourself something isn't right. If there is a chance things could go right,then yes. But I found things crashed awfully hard and I actually felt foolish for believing.

DingbatsFur Sun 06-Dec-15 16:42:32

I'm so sorry for your losses. You've had a very rough year sad
I had a mmc at 9 weeks. I had never felt sorrow like it. The only thing that kept me going was that each day would improve and I would be stronger the next day than I had the day before.
I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.
I did end up with 2 healthy pregnancies, but I never really relaxed. Miscarriage removes the innocence from pregnancy.
Good luck! Push for testing, after 3 they should be helping you

CwtchMeQuick Sun 06-Dec-15 16:51:00

I am so sorry for your losses flowers

I had a miscarriage earlier this year and despite being a very positive person in general, the only way I got through it was being very matter of fact and taking one day at a time. The false hope was something I just couldn't deal with, when I knew deep down I'd lost my baby.

Take things as they come and be kind to yourself. You've had an unbelievably tough year flowers

SevenSeconds Sun 06-Dec-15 16:53:27

I think that it is a natural human response to try and see some kind of positive in a situation even when things are very bleak. Maybe it's a sort of survival instinct?

I am so sorry for the terrible time you've been having flowers

BipBippadotta Sun 06-Dec-15 18:19:01

Thanks so much, everyone. It's so sad to hear of everyone's losses. What a uniquely sorrowful time it is. I think people who haven't gone through it just don't get it.

I guess hope & positivity comes in different forms - as Dingbats says, acknowledging feeling better & putting one foot in front of the other is a kind of hope.

Dingbats - you've hit the nail on the head, it takes the innocence out of pregnancy. & as CMOT says there is no way of enjoying or relaxing after knowing how badly wrong things can go.

GP told me I don't get testing on the NHS until I've had 3 sequential mcs - apparently my stillbirth counts as a 'successful pregnancy' (!), and started the counter back at 0 again! Have since been for private autoimmune & blood clot testing (all fine, which was good to know) but even they made me feel like I was kicking up a massive fuss over nothing.

RoTo72 - I'm so sorry for your experience, it's just heartbreaking. And I get it completely about feeling foolish for having believed. There is something somehow so humiliating about false hope. Makes you feel like such a mug, and you end up suffering twice - once when you get the news and again when it's confirmed.

I don't understand why they nurture that sort of hope when they know the stats - in my last mmc doctor kept insisting I had my dates wrong (I knew I didn't) and to come back in 2 wks. Couldn't wait 2 wks so booked private scan a week later. At the last minute the clinic called me and asked me to go to a different branch, failing to tell me it was located in a Mothercare shop where they were playing Romeo and Juliet on the sound system as the u/s tech confirmed fetal demise, and then I had to walk back out past all the baby things & happy pregnant people. Never before have I so wanted to throw myself in front of a bus.


Tryingno1 Sun 06-Dec-15 18:35:42

Hi bip. I'm utterly sorry to hear of the time u have had. I can't even begin to imagine loosing ur little girl followed by 2mc. Glad u and dh are staying strong and together. I hope ur love gets ur through

Having had 5mc and no dc I have had times when I've had hope and really believed it would be ok. And it hasn't. I've now lost a lot of hope and confidence in my body. But I think somewhere there is a little bit of hope burning away otherwise why would I bother trying again? But I am. Saying that they say thinking positively and being hopeful can really improve prognosis in lots of things not just fertility so I don't know..what I do know is this is a shit time and look after urself and surround urself with lots of love X

RoTo72 Sun 06-Dec-15 18:36:21

On that is so insensitive. Id be heartbroken. I want to get a pair of booties to put I a memory box, along with scan pic and teddy. But I just can't bring myself to buy them yet.

53rdAndBird Sun 06-Dec-15 18:47:28

It didn't help me. I just found it heartbreakingly frustrating - like nobody but me was willing to acknowledge reality.

I had two early scans that showed me measuring 2+ weeks behind dates, plus an oversized yolk sac - "you never know! It might be fine!" from the EPU even though that would've meant me getting a positive test before conceiving. Then agonising cramps and bleeding tons - "but you never know! It might be fine!" Then I got sent leaflets on antenatal testing and booking the 12-week scan through the post. Because you never know! sad

It also made me extra worried during my next pregnancy, because I didn't feel like I could trust the midwives to be honest with me at my scans.

Zabzab Sun 06-Dec-15 19:38:25

Sorry bipbipotta and all the ladies here for going through this - no one really gets it until they go through this, and even then everyone's experience and how they deal with it is pretty unique. All I'd say is that it's perfectly fine to say all is NOT rosy and to allow oneself to feel rubbish about this. No one can force you to be happy and positive about it, sometimes it's helpful to simply feel the pain which is one way of grieving and dealing with it. Lots of courage to all! And indeed may 2016 be a better year. Xxx

Zabzab Sun 06-Dec-15 19:39:38

Sorry BipBippadotta I got your name wrong above!

BipBippadotta Sun 06-Dec-15 20:48:01

Tryingno1 I know what you mean about losing confidence in your body after so many losses. It's so hard. And yes, there's the hope that keeps you trying. I seem to have a lot of that left, and I suppose that's one of the things I worry about - what if that bit of hope never goes away and I keep putting us through this over and over again until we fall to bits?

RoTo72 Take your time putting together the memory box; ime you can't really perform these acts of mourning until you are ready. I couldn't go to my daughter's grave for months after the funeral, I honestly thought I'd have a heart attack. Eventually I found I wanted to go and didn't feel so scared by it anymore.

53rdAndBird - Yes! The cheerful 'You never know!' business drives me bananas, and has also undermined my trust in medical professionals. Do they do this to people who might have a serious illness?? 'Well, your symptoms do meet most of the diagnostic criteria for Ebola, but let's not get ahead of ourselves! Why not take some ibuprofen and see how it goes over the next week?'

SevenSeconds, it's so interesting the way people's survival instincts kick in in different ways - I think when I feel under pressure it really helps to come up with the worst case scenarios and work through how I would deal with them, so that I feel prepared. I imagine for others the hope of a good outcome is what gets them through the stress of not knowing. Maybe whether you go one way or another is down to whether you are a total contol freak like to plan (like me) or feel confident taking things as they come.

And thanks, Zabzab - and courage to all indeed. Let's all have a better 2016!

KittyandTeal Tue 08-Dec-15 10:08:13

I might not be the best person to give advise but I've had so much 'you must stay positive' shit that my reaction now is just bollocks.

In my mind positive thinking does nothing. Some people are naturally positive thinkers, like my dh, which is absolutely fine.

However, if you don't feel positive and you try and force it you're just denying your real feelings which in itself is damaging. Then comes the 'maybe I didn't think positively enough' if things do go wrong.

I'm so sorry you're going through such a hard time. Life can be utter shit sometimes

BipBippadotta Tue 08-Dec-15 13:23:31

Thanks, Kitty.

'Maybe I didn't think positively enough' - yes. In my NCT classes we were asked what our greatest fear was about childbirth, and I said 'death'. Everyone was aghast at my 'negativity' and appalled that I would even mention something so horrible. Class involved lots of positive visualisations, blather about oxytocin, how we had the right to be be entirely in control of our labour, etc. Fast forward a few weeks & my dd did die in childbirth, and I couldn't help but feel that my peers would have ascribed this to my attitude. Which I wouldn't even say is negative, just rational.

I can see how being positive can improve prognoses of certain illnesses, but I wonder how much of that is due to self-reporting of symptoms. If you're convinced you're on the mend, you may not think to mention that niggling ache in the dr's questionnaire. I can see how hope would help in active recovery - if you're optimistic about the effectiveness of physio you're likely to work harder at it. But my sunny outlook is not going to untie a knotted umbilical cord, and it is not going to rearrange the chromosomes in an embryo.

A gentle and straight-talking u/s tech confirmed fetal demise today, so hey ho, off to book another ERPC. I am really looking forward to a bit of general anaesthetic.

I hope you're all hanging in there.


RoTo72 Tue 08-Dec-15 16:10:22

Aw bip I'm so sorry to hear that. Massive hugs xx

BipBippadotta Tue 08-Dec-15 16:18:46

Thanks, RoTo. Hugs to you too. xx

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