@MotherLift did a virtual interview with Taylor Plattor (@_lovemultiplies) about her ongoing losses in pregnancy, and attempts at IUI. The honesty and vulnerability she shares is humbling. Scroll on to read the full interview.
Your Name: Taylor Plattor
Kid’s Names & Ages: Kase- age 2.5, 5 heavenly babies
Your Age at 1st Conception: 21
Occupation: Postpartum RN & Doula
Relationship Status: Married
Where do you live? Round Rock, TX
Type of Birth: Vaginal
How do you define “Motherhood”?
Motherhood is…so many things. It’s like hopping on a roller coaster full of love, pain, fear, excitement, tears, laughs, strength, smiles, “boo-boos”, smudged fingerprints all over my windows. It goes a different pace every day- fast, slow, upside down, backwards. And I never want to get off.
What was unexpected for you in the process of becoming a mother? Positive and/or Negative
I don’t think anyone expects to go through recurrent pregnancy loss. I know I didn’t. How could I? I exercise, eat healthy, take my vitamins. Yet here I am, 6 pregnancies deep. Nobody told me how incredibly hard and lonely this journey can be. I can’t remember the last time I went a whole day without thinking about how my heart is so broken. But I trudge forward because I know it’ll be worth it. Motherhood is worth it.
How have you handled (or not handled) all the changes you’ve experienced? (i.e. learned coping tools, leaned on friends for support, got professional help, medication)?
At first, my ways of coping consisted of bottle up emotions and self isolation. I was afraid to talk about my miscarriages. I felt ashamed, like people would think I was doing something wrong that was causing the miscarriages. I stopped going to friend/family functions. Anytime I was invited somewhere where a pregnant person or something to do with babies was going to be there, I just didn’t go. Do you know what it feels like to be the girl in the room who’s grieving and everyone is looking at you because they know you’re grieving? It sucks. I didn’t talk about my feelings and nobody asked. This was so unhealthy, and I knew it was, but I didn’t know how else to handle it. I finally just had to start talking. I told my friends and family how I was feeling and what I needed from them. Some encouraged me to seek some sort of counseling, which I eventually did. I learned that it’s okay to express my emotions and how to recognize when they are leading me in unhealthy directions. I still have bad days, but I’m not so quiet about them now.
At MotherLift, we’re big believers in therapy. Do you feel like it was helpful for what you are going through? How did you find your counselor?
Oh yes! It’s very helpful to lay your thoughts and feelings all out on the table. It’s one thing to say “oh I’m grieving”, but it’s a completely different thing to look your grief dead in the face and say “oh I’m grieving and this is why I feel what I feel and this is what I’m going to do about it”.
I did Grief Share through my church. I knew I didn’t want to sit down one on one with a counselor because I felt like I would just cry the entire time. I mean, I still cried a lot in Grief Share, but it’s different when you’re surrounded by people who get it (and who sometimes cry along with you). Something I didn’t expect to feel was shame. I felt ashamed. At that time I had lost 4 babies and I wondered if the people in my grief group would roll their eyes at the reason I was sitting at them, like how dare I even think about categorizing my grief with theirs (my grief group was totally awesome btw). Women who have had miscarriages fear that their grief from it isn’t legitimate or valid. Read that again. Isn’t it terrible?
What has stayed the same about your marriage through loss? What has changed?
I have said this from the beginning of our relationship, even before we were married- Dustin and I are complete opposites in several different aspects, but it forms the perfect complementary relationship. He keeps me wild, I keep him grounded. When it comes to our emotions it’s a little different. He’s definitely more rational and I’m ready to jump off a cliff at any given moment. This has never changed about us, which I’m grateful for because the grief that stems from loss comes and goes in waves and, with that, comes a balancing act between logic, reason and emotion. Whenever I’m having a REALLY hard day, the kind where I want to go feet first off a ledge, he can always talk me down. I’d choose to be at the other end of the board any day. But, that being said, our relationship has changed in some ways too. When two people are throwing everything they have at a situation and aren’t getting the desired result, it feels incredibly defeating. Sometimes that feeling comes off as anger. Sometimes it comes off as guilt. It stems from a good place, one where we want to give the other person everything they could possibly ever want, but realizing you have no control over this one thing. This one thing you want so badly. And then the negative thoughts creep in. Does he think I’m a failure? Does he think I’m doing something wrong? Am I still enough? I’m not sure “changed” is the right word. I think it’s “challenged”. This journey has definitely challenged us.
Is there anything you would tell partners of those with multi-losses?
Lean into each other. Be open and honest with one another. Have hard conversations. I’ve learned that whenever I’m having those negative thoughts it’s actually me writing my own answer to a question I haven’t even asked yet. No matter how helpless you might feel, YOU are your partners support system. Pregnancy is a special, intimate bond that you share together. Pregnancy loss is the same. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you feel like you need it. There is no trophy for getting through grief without help.
Can you tell us a story of your experience as a mother? Like a day in the life of YOU as a mother? This can be the good, bad, and the ugly, whatever you feel like sharing.
I was a stay-at-home mom for the first year of Kase’s life. Just him and I, all day long.
It’s 8:00am and we are up for the day. As Kase is nursing, I’m thinking about all of the things I need to do today- do the dishes, fold the laundry that has been sitting in the basket for who knows how long, sweep the floors, and we’re out of the essentials so I better go to the grocery store. I change Kase out of his clothes just before he projectile vomits all over his new ones. Shocker. We change again and head into the living room. I dump all of the laundry onto the couch so I can fold while Kase is playing on his mat. You have to give him a new toy every 3 minutes or else he gets bored and starts screaming. Three pairs of pants later and Kase wants to be held. He’s teething, so he’s extra clingy lately. He wants to eat again, but I don’t blame him because I think he spit up his entire first meal this morning. Another diaper change. We rock for a little bit and read a book.
Back to the living room we go, we’ll try the exer-saucer this time. I get a few more things folded and he wants to be held again. I throw on the baby wrap and stick him in it. Do you know how hard it is to fold laundry with a baby on your chest? At this point I’ve heated up my coffee 3 times. He finally falls asleep, so I quietly slip him in his crib so I can get a few more things done. First nap means it’s probably 11:00. When you’re a mom you basically live from one nap to the next. He wakes up, we feed and we change. He decides to pee on me mid diaper change. When you’re a boy mom you get peed on. A lot. We put on new clothes and a new diaper. We play. We bounce. Have I even eaten today? Diaper change. We eat again. Another diaper change. Is second nap soon?!?! We play some more. He finally goes down for another nap, which means I can try to get my workout in. Nap is cut short when the doorbell rings and the dog goes ballistic.
So, now I’m doing lunges while holding Kase. He seems to be enjoying it but me not so much. Feed, eat, change. How has Kase not had a blowout yet? Oh wait, I spoke too soon. Change again. What is the dog chewing on? Oh another one of Kase’s toys. Great. The Ellen Show is on which means one hour until dad gets home (YAY). I’m still in my pajamas. What the heck is that smell? Oh, it’s baby vomit in my hair from this morning. I feel bad for my husband sometimes. He probably thinks I lounge around in my pajamas all day doing nothing LOLLL. Oh crap I never went to the store. I hope we have a frozen pizza. Dad is finally home and the dog is so excited that he tries to hurdle the couch and knocks over all the folded laundry in the process.
Before I know it, it’s bedtime. Kase has already had a bath and we’re in his room rocking. Rocking is his favorite (besides nursing). “Why can’t I just lay you down and you go right to sleep?” I wonder. He finally drifts off to sleep after what seems like hours of rocking, so I lay him down in his crib and quietly creep out of the room. Tomorrow is a new day, but it’ll probably be just like today.
Kase is almost 3 now and he still likes to rock. I can’t believe I used to hold this little boy in my arms and now we can both barely fit in the chair. I remember a time when I couldn’t wait until the day I didn’t have to rock him to sleep anymore. And now I never want it to come.
What would you tell someone struggling with what you experienced?
I truly live by the saying “grow through what you go through”. It’s so easy to sit back and let your feelings and emotions completely consume you. I really do believe we go through hard shit for a reason. Find that reason and let it be the fuel to your fire.
On the days when that feels, or has felt impossible, what pulled you through?
Simply this- Jesus. And maybe coffee. And a good cry in my car haha. But in all seriousness, I can usually wake up and just know it’s going to be a bad day. One where I’m counting down the minutes until it’s tomorrow. When that happens I just get out of bed, head to our front room and I let it all out. I give it all over to God. My worries, my frustrations, my anger, my fears. Everything that burdens me I lay at His feet. And then He gets off His throne of perfect love, perfect timing and perfect plans, meets me in my brokenness, and reminds me that my life is made up of just that- perfect love, timing and plans. Knowing that overwhelms me with peace when I need it most. Then I go get coffee and cry in my car hahaha (it’s my form of selfcare, okay?!).
What do you need the most in the midst of your experience?
Someone to be there for me. Someone who will sit with me. Someone who will listen to me. I just need someone. This journey is lonely enough.
Is that what you asked for in your conversations with friends and family?
It took time, but eventually yes. I think at first people felt uncomfortable bringing up a touchy subject, but to me it felt like they didn’t care (and being the type 2 that I am, I need people to love me LOL). Unfortunately I can still count on one hand the number of people who check in on us from time to time, but I guess that’s better than none. It hurts to even type that, but it’s the truth.
What’s one thing someone said or did for you that was meaningful for what you were going through?
My very best friend left me a thoughtful gift on my porch on what would have been the due date of our last baby. That loss was the toughest one, so it meant a lot that she acknowledged it and went out of her way to support us. She is the only person who said or did something for us on that day.
Is there a specific way that you have memorialized your losses?
Not anything specific. I mean I think about them every day and I have certain dates burned into my memory, but we don’t do anything special. I will say with our last loss we knew it was a boy, so we went out and bought blue flowers and ate blue cupcakes. But other than that, no. I really don’t know why, we just chose to not let that be a part of our healing process.
Have you found answers or diagnosis in your loss?
Kind of. We have done so much testing and the only abnormal thing that has come up is I have a MTHFR gene mutation. Of course I have the most severe form of it because why wouldn’t I? The mutation has the potential to cause clotting issues which can lead to miscarriage. However, MTHFR hasn’t been heavily studied and many doctors don’t even believe it can cause issues, so it can be really frustrating trying to find a OB or RE who takes it seriously. Luckily both of mine have agreed to put me on blood thinners when I do get pregnant again.
What has transpired with your body in preparation for getting pregnant again?
After being diagnosed with MTHFR I started doing my own research and learned I needed to change a few things. Folic acid is a big one. When you have a MTHFR mutation your body cannot process folic acid or B vitamins like it should, which can cause health issues. I have to take the methylated forms of these and I can’t take folic acid at all- it needs to be folate. So yeah those $6 walmart prenatals I took with Kase were essentially doing nothing for me, which is totally scary. I’m now one of the lucky people that gets to spend $60+ per month just on vitamins and I’m not even pregnant yet! It was also recommended I avoid dairy and gluten. I was already pretty much dairy free, but gluten has been a little harder. It’s in everything it seems like! I also switched to decaf coffee, though I do have regular every now and then. (When you’re a mom sometimes you just gotta.) And then of course exercise. I was already exercising a lot prior to trying to conceive, so I’ve just kept at it. Some days I don’t make it to the gym, but I try to at least move my body in some way when I don’t.
What do you know about yourself now that you didn’t know before beginning becoming a mother?
I can do hard things. Also, “this too shall pass”.
How would you finish these sentences?
All mothers need: encouragement
Motherhood is not: easy
Motherhood is: empowering
You can follow more of Taylor’s journey through her instagram @_lovemultiplies.
Once again, thank you Taylor for sharing your real, raw and emotional journey with us.