Adenomyosis and pregnancy loss are two very painful things to experience.
My guest has come to share her victory and pain with pregnancy loss and a recent diagnosis of adenomyosis.
On this episode of the Real Happy Mom Podcast Que is back to talk about how to support someone that has experienced pregnancy loss and more about her story.
Quenita or as many know her as Que is a mom to a now 2-year-old.
She has been married to her husband for 5 years. Recently, Que made a career change from criminal justice to public health.
And currently works in HIV and Treatment in Tampa, Florida.
Que had two second trimester pregnancy losses before having her son. She was diagnosed with an incompetent cervix.
This means that the cervix is weak and not able to carry a baby full term. An incompetent cervix can lead to premature pregnancy loss and premature birth.
Que did her own research about her diagnosis which leads her to Dr. Arthur Haney.
Dr. Haney specializes in placing transabdominal cerclage for women that have been diagnosed with an incompetent cervix and experienced pregnancy loss.
As a result, having the transabdominal cerclage placed, Que now has her son.
What not to say to a grieving mom
Having experienced two-second trimester losses, Que had experienced sharing the good news about her pregnancy and the heartbreaking loss.
Unfortunately, people often mean well, but don’t always say the right things at the moment. Sometimes words that are meant to provide comfort, do the exact opposite.
I asked Que to share some of the things that were said that she wished people didn’t say. Some of these statements may make you cringe. I sure did.
Some of these statements you may have said. And that’s fine. This is not to make you feel bad, but help you to better interact with a grieveing mother.
So the first thing that comes to mind is we shared that we were experiencing a loss actually after we had Jaxson. We experienced the loss as first trimester at six weeks. And we share that information with a loved one. And their initial reaction was “again.”
I know you may be thinking something, but remember to filter your thoughts before they come out of your mouth.
This reaction is difficult to respond to. I’m not even sure what I would say other than, yes, again.
So, did you have a funeral
I remember after our first loss when I returned to work, I was out for like two and a half weeks. So when I returned to work, literally the first person I ran into when I came off the elevator didn’t say “hi.” Didn’t say, “oh, how are you?” The first question was “so, did you have a funeral?”
I really don’t know how to respond to that.
I’m glad I am not alone because Que shared when someone said this to her stood there with a puzzled look and then walked away.
At least you have one kid
What we get now is now that we’ve had Jaxson and like I kinda touched on, you know, we’ve had losses since Jaxson. We get a lot, “oh well at least you have one kid.” Or you know, “at least you have Jaxson.” Which I know what they’re wanting to say or what I’m hoping that they’re trying to say. But that does not help.
Although you mean well when you say this, this actually hurts the grieving mother.
Yes, Que is grateful for her son, but it doesn’t make any of her losses any easier.
Because each pregnancy is one of its own. Each one of those babies were special in their own right and they should be remembered and celebrated and loved individually.
One thing I was asked a lot was “so Que, how’s the bleeding?”
Although you may mean well, getting too personal is not the way to go.
Allow the grieving mother to volunteer that information before asking these types of questions.
God wanted this to happen
And another one that I hear, you know, sometimes people say, you know, “it’s God’s will.” All right, let’s leave it at that. But someone actually worded it to me, they said, “well, you know, God wanted this to happen.”
For my spiritual friends, saying “God knows what is best” or “God needed her more than you” never makes a grieving mother feel any better.
Let me know
Que didn’t mention the following, but Megan did in episode 28. I really wanted to make sure that you well equipped to handle a sensitive topic.
Telling a grieving mother “let me know what I can do for you” sounds good, but really isn’t helpful. Usually, grieving moms aren’t in a good space mentally to even think about their needs.
Instead, be more specific and give freely from your heart.
The worst thing that you can do is disappear or avoid a grieving mother.
Even if you don’t know what to say or you’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, just be there.
Trying saying this instead
And sometimes it’s better to just say, I’m sorry, or, you know what, I will keep you in my prayers. Or even in that moment if you would like to pray for that person, ask them if it’s okay … Can I pray for you? Can I pray with you? Or even, you know, well, I’m here or, you know, I’m thinking of you.
Try saying this instead
- I’m sorry
- I will keep you in my prayers
- Can I pray for you?
- I’m thinking of you
These simple statements can provide so much comfort to a grieving mother.
Que was able to deliver a healthy baby after a struggle with second-trimester pregnancy loss. After talking with Que I learned that she is now facing new challenges with having more children.
Pregnancy loss by “happenstance”
A year after having her son, Que became pregnant. Shortly after finding out that she was pregnant, she started having severe abdominal pain. The pain was so bad that she went to the ER several times.
It wasn’t until Que went back to the ER on another occasion that it was determined that she had an ectopic pregnancy.
An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg attaches outside of the uterus. Typically ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tubes and can be life-threatening for the mother due to severe bleeding.
If an ectopic pregnancy is caught too late or left untreated it can cause damage to the fallopian tube and internal bleeding.
So at this point, I was six weeks pregnant. They said that it was a miracle that I came in when I did, because a lot of times if a topic pregnancies aren’t caught early on, it could lead into a rupture fallopian soup, which yeah. Would then result in emergency surgery and the removal of that damage tube.
Luckily for Que, she did not have to undergo surgery, however, she did have to have a methotrexate treatment.
Methotrexate is a chemotherapy that is used to treat cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and ectopic pregnancies.
So the doctor said that 99% of atopic pregnancies are by happenstance. There’s nothing that you can do to prevent them. There’s nothing specifically that could cause them if you don’t already have like preexisting medical conditions
First-trimester pregnancy loss
Seven months after the ectopic pregnancy, Que got pregnant. This time she lost the pregnancy at 8 weeks.
They couldn’t say why. I just know it was very painful and at this point it was starting to kind of take its toll on me because now my body is going through so much and emotionally I’m going through so much. My husband and I are both going through so much and we also have Jackson now, so I really can’t ball up in a corner and just give up because I still have to be a mom to this beautiful child and a wife to my deserving husband.
After giving herself time, Que became pregnant again. The story would repeat and she lost the pregnancy.
So at this point now we’ve had two back to back and we need to figure out why, asking questions. I needed to know what was happening. I started to do research on reoccurring first trimester loss and common causes and given the, the two, the two losses and some of the other things that I started to experience physically, I came to the conclusion, me and my best friend, Google, um, that maybe we needed to look into whether or not I had endometriosis.
The connection with adenomyosis and pregnancy loss
After spending time with her BFF Google, Que came equipped with the idea of exploring the possibility of endometriosis.
Endometriosis is when the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. This can happen in the ovaries, fallopian tubes or the lining of the pelvis.
It is very painful due to the thickening and breaking down during menstrual cycles. Because this tissue has nowhere to go during a menstrual cycle, the surrounding tissue becomes irritated and develop scar tissue.
Some of the common signs and symptoms of endometriosis include heavy bleeding during menstrual cycles and painful periods.
Endometriosis can lead to infertility or difficulty getting pregnant.
Because of Que’s findings, she got tested for endometriosis and adenomyosis.
What adenomyosis is when the lining of the uterus starts to grow into the uterine muscle. So it causes an enlarged uterus. It causes very, very, very heavy and painful periods amongst other things. Some people may have heard Gabrielle Union speak about having adenomyosis and some of her struggles with that.
The difference with adenomyosis is the tissue that lines the uterus grows into the muscular wall of the uterus and results in an enlarged uterus and heavy painful periods.
So long story short, we found out that I do affect have adenomyosis and now my doctors also believe that I have endometriosis as well.
Do your own research
One thing that stood out with Que’s story is how much research she did on her own. And how she questioned her doctors to finally get the answers she needed.
You know, sometimes we get into autopilot. So, you know, maybe this thing I learned about 15 years ago, you know, and I haven’t heard of or seen since I learned about it or since I had a patient, you know, five years ago, I’ve seen so many patients since then. It’s not in the forefront of my mind. So I’m thinking, okay, well, you know, these doctors are humans too, so let’s work together to try to find answers.
This means learning things on your own so that you are prepared with questions when the doctors as “do you have any questions?”
I will always encourage anyone to get a second opinion or do your own research, come up with questions and find out more about what you’re experiencing because it’s your body and no one knows your body better than you do. So if you go to your doctor and you tell the doctor, hey, I’m experiencing A, B, and C and I’ve read that, you know, maybe this thing over here could be the cause of it. Doctor, what do you think? I think that helps give your doctors a better viewpoint.
What’s next for Que?
Que recently received the diagnosis of adenomyosis and possible endometriosis. She is still exploring her options. One of which was IVF.
I know the doctor just recently threw out the possibility of us having to explore IVF and that’s not something that was ever in my personal plan … I just need to kind of go back to square one, do more research and talk with my doctor a little bit more about what that would look like for us if that’s our next step. Or are there steps in between that we could try.
Que is sharing her story and updates on her progress in her upcoming podcast called That’s My Que.
After time and allowing herself to process her feelings, Que is now able to speak openly about her story. Make sure to check out the first part of Que’s story.