Feb 15, 2010

Camille, Tami, and I have a long running joke that I should get a t-shirt to wear to family reunions that says “Yes, I AM defective.” Why, you ask? To answer all the questions I get about why I have so many fewer children than they do. I had two children when they both had five. Now I have four while Camille has seven and Tami just gave birth to her eighth. Great-aunts, cousins, uncles, and even total strangers have said “What is wrong with you? Why do you only have ___________ children when they have ___________?” Sometimes it makes me laugh because it is so predictable. Sometimes it makes me laugh because it is so rude. Sometimes it makes me cry. Sometimes it makes me want to scream. Sometimes I lash out and say awful things like “I actually miscarried for the __________ time just a few weeks ago, thank you for bringing it up AGAIN!” I try really hard to realize that people don’t know. People are just trying to make sense of the incongruity of three best friends and cousins who are very similar in most things yet don’t have anywhere close to the same amount of children.

After Keziah’s birth, I was defective. I had luteal phases of 1-2 days and follicular phases of 30-60 days. I did not produce enough progesterone to maintain a pregnancy and consequently we lost four babies in a row. We remedied the problem…or God did…and then thinking all was better, we got pregnant again and lost another baby and then another. Six babies lost in three years. It was devastating to my emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual life. I was at a complete loss to know what to do, what to trust, what to pray for, what to hope for. I didn’t want to ever be pregnant again. I knew I could not bear to lose another child. I was angry, hurt, and filled with grief.

It has been six years since I have had luteal phase issues. I thought I had figured out what my body needed and how to have a normal luteal phase. They have been 14 days ever since then, pretty much to the minute.

Until now. Last August, I had a 13 day luteal phase. No big deal right? Then in September, it went to 12 days. Then it would play around at 12-13 days ever since then. I wasn’t worried, just bothered when I was counting on it being at 14 days and I would start bleeding earlier than I expected.

This time? NINE days. There is no way a pregnancy can be sustained with a nine-day luteal phase.

So last night, I was right back to where I was all those years ago. Once again, full of anger, grief, frustration, distrust of my body. I have started wanting a new baby and just last night at dinner, Richard said, “she’s not a baby anymore, we need a new baby in this house.” Then the bleeding began.

I am so tired of this.

The funny thing is, this condition has a name. It is called Luteal Phase Defect.

So, I guess it is true.

I am defective.

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  1. jessica

    Oh I hate it that you’re feeling defective but oh boy do I know the feeling. I hate feeling disappointed in my body. I hate feeling mad at my body for failing me. This made me cry because only four kids? Was so not what we’d planned.

    I can eat stuff now, let’s go to Driggs!!!! I need a night out and maybe you do too??

    • tracy

      Boy, this defective feeling is overpowering me. I am in the strangest funk. I don’t want to see anyone, talk to anyone, or do anything. I just want to curl up in bed and ignore the rest of the world.

      Instead I have decided to completely rearrange my kitchen drawers and cupboards today…distraction from reality is the approach for today, I guess.

      Driggs sounds lovely as soon as I am up to seeing people again. I have to go out tomorrow and I am already dreading it. I want to jump in bed and read for hours and hours and sleep and read and sleep and read and cry and gnash my teeth and scream and then read some more. Surely that is what is called for, yes?

  2. Robyn

    Are you saying, that you had another miscarriage? Number 10? I’m so sorry . . . What do I say?
    I am surprised people ask those questions. Years ago I had a cousin ask me why we didn’t have children yet. I had just had a miscarriage and told her that. What an awkward silence. Her husband was mortified that she would ask that. Well, at least she knew the answer and didn’t have to wonder. Now it is people wondering why there is such a long gap between my 2 girls. It has been a good reminder for me that you never know what kind of path a person has walked. I have to be careful about passing judgement. Thank you for your post today.

  3. tracy

    No, I didn’t have another miscarriage – just a 9 day luteal phase, which means that if that continues I won’t be able to sustain a pregnancy, there simply isn’t enough progesterone. Just when I was thinking I am ready to try again we are facing this challenge. It’s one thing to not be ready and to not want to be pregnant – it’s totally different when I know I can’t just make the choice to get pregnant and stay pregnant. This is proof that a pregnancy won’t work right now. Does that make sense?

  4. Tami

    Absolutely, Trac! Go read a good book… have a good cry… You can get through it again!! LOVE YOU!

  5. Robyn

    Yes, that makes sense. Take some time for yourself. I don’t think you are defective. You are perfectly you!

  6. Anne

    So sorry you are hurting again. I wish you had those nine babies, but the Lord has a different plan. Who knows what will happen in all of Eternity? Give Fish and Annes two big kisses from me. Live today. Loves.

  7. Kari

    My mom and her sister were expecting babies at the same time. (Well, I was adopted but I was going to be born at the same time as my cousin.) Anyway, my aunt carried my cousin to full term and then he was stillborn. So my mom had this new baby (me) and my aunt buried hers. I still feel guilty.

    Then, when I was expecting Isaac, one of Gary’s best friends and his wife were expecting their first. He died and Isaac lived. They are expecting again, any day. I pray that this one lives.

    It’s awkward when you have a new baby and someone you love is hurting over the loss of one or the inability to have one. I didn’t know that you were going through this. Here you have been helping me and taking care of me and I didn’t know you were hurting. I am sorry. I love you. You have brought so much joy into my life and my family’s. I don’t ever want to cause you pain.

    I don’t understand why a lot of things happen the way that they do. I know that each of us has trials and things that we feel inadequate about, but I don’t think you are defective. I think you’re amazing and wonderful. This will work out for your good. Somehow. Someday.

    • tracy


      Helping you and Faith is my privilege. Please don’t feel you have caused me pain. You have not. Faith has not. I am so thrilled Faith is here and in your loving care. I adore your family. I want everyone to have lots and lots of babies and other people’s pregnancies and births have never bothered me.

      Please don’t feel awkward…let me rejoice with you!