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Category: Loss (Page 1 of 2)

One year later

Last March was the worst month of my life.

The whole month of February was spent in blissful naiveté. Then March 1st it felt like my world fell apart.

I feel the sting in little reminders. Like yesterday, I went to get a prenatal massage and in filling out the form I had a tiny little punch to the gut.

2nd pregnancy 1st birth

Then I had to talk about it to the massage therapist. She was chatty.

I also keep thinking about that first ultrasound. There was nothing to see except my empty uterus and yet I cannot stop thinking about the picture that automatically printed. My mind replays my doctor ripping it off the machine, crumpling it up and throwing it in the trash over and over. I didn’t ask for it. I wish I had although I don’t know why exactly. There are many moments that replay from that day but that one stands out the most. Such a stupid little thing.

After that ultrasound we spent 12 days in torturous limbo and then I took what little control I could of the whole horrible situation and opted to have a D&C.

That was one year ago today.

For me personally it was the best decision I could have made. As weird as it feels to say it, the actual procedure was a very positive experience. A large part of that was the wonderful hospital staff and the other part was just the fact that I was taking control of a situation that I was completely out of control of otherwise. When it feels like your world is completely spinning out of control any grasp of control can make that spinning feel slightly less overwhelming.

While that day started the healing process, it was a long, hard road to feeling like myself again. Although saying “myself” doesn’t feel quite accurate. I’m not the same person I was before all this happened.

I think that’s a good thing.

It has taken a year’s worth of time to gain perspective because in the moment and aftermath I could not fathom how anything good could come out of losing my first pregnancy.

I know Joel and I are so much closer than we ever were. Tragedies can make or break a relationship. Thankfully it made us. We had several marriage struggles in the years before our first pregnancy. I blame the fact that we were practically babies when we got married. I was only 20 and Joel was just 24. Babies. Somehow we made it through those and then, instead of letting the blinding pain of losing a pregnancy rip us apart, we relied on each other in a much deeper way than we ever did before. I wish I could give more insight into how we did that but I either do not have enough distance from that time or there is no answer. Either way, I have never felt happier with our relationship or more in love with the man I call my husband.

Another good thing that came out of this was my ability to share my experience. I hate that anyone else in the world has to lose a pregnancy. But at least now I can offer my empathy instead of just my sympathy. Everyone’s journey is different but when I was in the middle of my worst pain other people rallied around me and it help me so much. Now I can be one who rallies around others. If sharing my experience helps even one other person that is a positive thing.

I also get my Wesley out of this. Sure, part of me has struggled with the mixed feeling of missing my other almost baby and being happy about this current one. Now that I’m thisclose to holding our Wesley in my arms though I have a hard time imagining I’d change anything. I love the little boy inside of me. My rainbow baby. My little lucky charm. My Wesley. I wouldn’t have him if it weren’t for my other loss.

I’m glad this year is over because it was freaking hard. I will never forget my loss, it has forever changed me. Change is not always bad though and I anticipate beautiful things in my future both in spite and because of my loss. And the change I look forward to the most is my son. You’re welcome any time, little guy.

Little reminders

pregnancytestI’ve been kind of quiet the last couple of days. Certain dates snuck up on me, almost without me realizing they were coming. It’s a bunch of stupid little things, but they throw me.

The Chicago Auto Show is this week. I have so much fun at it every year but last year felt extra special because I was in the extra giddy, we just found out we’re pregnant, phase. I’m still pregnant again, a year later. When I say I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever, I’m not kidding.

Girl Scout cookies are on sale again. Thin mints used to be my favorite thing ever. Even though my nausea and food aversions are not too bad most of the time now, the idea of eating them turns my stomach. I’m afraid the mental association may have ruined them for me forever.

I’m doing Fat Mum Slim’s photo a day on Instagram (By the way, are you following me over there? If not you’re missing a bunch of pictures that never make it on the blog.) I’ve started this January. The first time I tried her photo a day was last February and it was part of how I announced to the internet that we were expecting.  I didn’t finish the year because on March 1st it just didn’t seem that important anymore.

After my original due date passed it was like a giant weight was lifted off me and I really was completely absorbed in this current, healthy pregnancy. It’s not that I never thought about my loss but it didn’t weigh on me like it did before. Now that I’m back to the same time of year as when we first found out we were pregnant I’m feeling a bit more introspective and sometimes even downright sad again.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still so much more happy and excited than sad lately. I’m getting so close to meeting my little guy and I am very much looking forward to that.

But amidst that excitement the dates that are now coming up again on the calendar throw me back. Back to a time when I was more innocent and naive. The thought of that pregnancy not working out was barely a blip on my radar, I just assumed it would. Last February I never thought I would still be pregnant this February. I know I got a couple month break but that doesn’t make it feel any less endless.

It’s nice that there aren’t too many bad dates coming up. There are definitely more good ones to look forward to. I’ll be happy to finally have my little guy in my arms. Next year I have a feeling February and March will seem much brighter.

 

 

 

Why we waited

ultrasound 6w4dswI wrote this post awhile ago but couldn’t seem to find the right time to hit publish. I hope by publishing it now it might help someone else who is struggling after a loss.

The first time we got pregnant we shared with the world right away. The day I peed on a stick we excitedly drove literal hours to be able to tell our family in person and not long after that we started posting about it.

And then we lost the pregnancy.

The support and love I got from everyone in my life, including virtual strangers was overwhelming. I honestly am not sure how I would have gotten through it without the unbelievable outpouring of support. I have absolutely zero regrets about sharing as early as we did because otherwise we would have had to walk through that dark time alone.

I honestly didn’t expect to do anything different this time around.

Then I got that positive test. And instead of joy and excitement I felt complete terror. The only person in the world I told that day was Joel, and since he had left for an out-of-town business trip I told him via text. Over the next few days I told a few members of my immediate family but just over the phone, trying to sound happy but choking back tears the entire time. Their excitement almost startled me.

It was not the happy time I felt like it should have been. Instead I felt depressed and scared. I sobbed into my pillow at night. It was so confusing. There was a tiny part of my that was cautiously hopeful. I wanted to be excited. I just could. not. get there.*

My doctor was so understanding and ordered blood work immediately to check that all my levels were where they were supposed to be. I passed with flying colors. You’d think that would have encouraged me but since I didn’t get blood work done the last time I didn’t know if it was truly a good sign or not. For all I knew my hormones were perfect then too. Or not. Who knows.

Joel seemed less apprehensive than me, but still he always phrased his excitement in mights” and ifs.”

I’m so excited that I might be a dad…

If this baby is born…

I hated those mights and ifs. They stung. I can’t blame him though, I talked the same way.

The three weeks from the positive test to when I could finally get an ultrasound seemed like an eternity. Still, only my very immediate family knew. There was a part of me that wanted to share with others but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The pregnancy did not feel real to me. I could not let myself get attached. I couldn’t let myself feel any real excitement.

That was why I stayed so quiet, why I didn’t share with the world. I could not bear to hear excited congratulations when I couldn’t muster up any excitement myself. I felt enough guilt over not being over the moon about my (potential) future child. I couldn’t imagine faking giddiness for someone else.

I refused to let strangers be more excited about my pregnancy than I was.

That first ultrasound I nearly crawled out of my own skin sitting on that table. When the ultrasound finally began I strained to see anything in that round black blob on the screen. It wasn’t empty. Or at least it didn’t look empty to my inexpert eye. Of course my doctor took what felt like years to say anything and when he did he began with the exact same Well…. in the exact same tone that started the bad news last time. But this time that well ended in “…there’s the heartbeat.

I stared at that tiny, flickering blob through tear filled eyes and finally felt the first surge of attachment. Hope. Excitement even.

It would still take me awhile to feel excited enough to share with my extended family and even longer to share with you wonderful internet people. I’m eternally grateful this pregnancy has turned out to be healthy so far because I definitely would not have wanted to walk through another loss alone. But I needed to always feel that I was the most excited about this pregnancy, no matter how little that was. I couldn’t rush the excitement. I’m glad I didn’t rush it.

Because trust me, now? There is no one more ecstatic and in love with this baby than me. I’m glad that’s the way it always was.

*The post I linked to was something I wrote anonymously on Band Back Together just after I got the positive pregnancy test. It is an incredibly raw look at how I was feeling at the time. I’m so grateful that I had that resource to voice my feelings and receive some support, even though I couldn’t thank those people at the time since I wanted to remain anonymous. It really is an invaluable resource.

A question of loyalty

Someone I follow on Twitter tweeted a link to this video they made as a tribute to their loss earlier in the year. It is beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. They mentioned that they should have had a baby to cuddle this Christmas and all of the sudden it came rushing back that I too should have had a tiny little two month old this Christmas.

From a memorial we attended for our miscarriage. Our last name is hard to spell, clearly.

From a memorial we attended for our miscarriage. Our last name is hard to spell, clearly.

I felt overwhelmed with sadness. Then my little boy kicked me and my sadness mixed with guilt.

If I had never lost that first baby, this one wouldn’t exist. Wishing that baby was here means wishing this baby away. On the other hand being happy this baby is here means being happy the other is gone.

Or something.

I’m so mixed up about it all. I love this baby boy in me already. Fiercely. Feeling him move made him a real little person to me. It also made the one I lost seem so abstract and so much further away.

I didn’t realize it until now. Somehow saying goodbye to my loss baby on it’s due date seemed to free me from mourning it constantly. Is that what closure feels like?

That date loomed like this terrifying thing for months and when it passed I felt free to love the baby inside of me more completely. Then, with my belly growing and more doctor visits and things I feel like I’ve been swept away in this pregnancy.

I thought Halloween would be nearly impossible to get through because it was supposed to be our first holiday as parents. Somehow instead I was distracted by whether my belly would be big enough to do one of those silly zombie mom costumes (it wasn’t).

Thanksgiving I enjoyed the freedom of maternity pants and the fact that I could eat to my heart’s content instead of being sad there wasn’t a baby in my arms.

I did glance longingly at the Baby’s First Christmas onesies and ornaments this holiday season but mostly I was distracted by people oohing and aaahing over my bump and making sure I got the right pictures featuring it in front of the tree.

I have gone whole stretches of time without focusing on my loss at all. I haven’t forgotten, not for a minute, but it doesn’t sting as much already. I wonder if it’s too soon for the sting to be gone.

Loving this baby as much as I do feels disloyal to the one I lost. In a way it makes me wish we would have waited to start trying until after my due date. Then, even though improbable, them both existing wouldn’t have been impossible. As it is, there’s only the choice of one or the other. Obviously there wasn’t really a choice. I didn’t terminate my first pregnancy, it just wasn’t viable.

Why then does it feel like loving either one is disloyal to the other?

Today was my due date

Phoebe gets worried about me when I cry

I should have been in labor today.

Or I should have been big as a house and wishing I was in labor.

Or maybe I’d already be working on getting the hang of nursing and diaper changes and sleep deprivation.

Seventeen is a special number to me. It’s the date of Joel’s (November) and my (January) birthdays and it’s the date of our anniversary (April). When we found out the due date it just seemed meant to be.

It wasn’t.

I’m happy that I have been able to go on and have a healthy pregnancy so soon after my loss. I’m lucky, I know I’m so lucky. But today, just for today, I wish we would have waited. Because today all I am is sad that I’m not holding a full term baby.

This day has hung like a cloud over me ever since March when we found out there was nothing growing in my uterus anymore. Fittingly today it’s thunder storming. I’m allowing myself today to just be in the storm. I’m going to cry, and remember the baby I never had. Later tonight Joel and I will light a candle on a cupcake in honor of the birthday that will never be.

Dear almost baby,

I miss you. I wish I was meeting you today. I dreamed last night that I went to Alaska. I’d like to think that was your way of telling me you’re in heaven with your uncle. I hope you’re safe and happy. I hope you know how much I wish I was getting to know you right now. I hope you know how much your daddy and I love you. You’ll always be in our hearts even though you were never in our arms.

All my love, Mommy

 

Betrayal

I have always struggled with body image issues.

The miscarriage has only made my body hate so much worse. I feel completely betrayed by my body. I’m so angry with it still. Not only could it not develop a normal pregnancy but it couldn’t figure out there was no baby growing. It made me so nauseous I could barely function while I knew there was no chance of a healthy baby.

Then, it bled for almost a full week longer than what the doctor told me I could expect. Not enough to be dangerous or even worrisome. Just enough to be annoying and make me miserable.

Then I finally got a bit of a break only to have the mother of all deluges for my first period “back.” I ruined a pair of pants, a set of sheets and countless underwear because I simply wasn’t prepared for this uncommonly heavy “welcome back to fertility.”

That finally ended and I hoped my body would even things out. In the in between Joel and I still weren’t trying but we weren’t exactly careful either.

The day my next period was due I spotted a bit so I prepared myself for another deluge like last time. I walked around for four days with basically a diaper on only to have barely another spot show up. Then things stopped altogether. Pregnancy tests kept coming back negative and so I found myself in a weird limbo of did I just finish the lightest period of my life or am I secretly pregnant already? I knew if I was pregnant the fact that I didn’t even get the faintest of lines on a test was not a good sign for viability.

One week later my questions were answered with yet another ruined pair of underwear. Turns out my period just decided to show up a full week late for the first time in my entire life. FUN! This one wasn’t quite as Niagara Falls as the last one so at least there’s that.

Then(!) two days ago I woke up, stepped out of bed and yelped because my ankle hurt so much. It felt like I sprained it. Except there’s no swelling and I have no memory of doing anything to injure it. It’s still the same today and I have no idea what’s going on. Luckily I have another week off dance before the summer session starts. It’s already stopping me from working out. If this mystery injury doesn’t clear up soon though it’s going to keep me from doing the one thing that’s been keeping me sane.

I just want to know when my body will be done messing with my head. I feel like I just start to heal and then my body pulls some other form of torture out to undo all of it. It makes me terrified to start trying again.

Logically I’m pretty sure I know my body is not actually out to get me. That doesn’t help me feel any less betrayed by it though.

I don’t know how to do this

I stopped posting because I felt lost on what to say.

I’m still lost.

Physically I feel fine other than the fact that I ate my feelings (they tasted like Nutella and nachos in case you were wondering) and am at my heaviest weight ever, in my life. Ugh. I’m trying to dig my way out of that though. I’ve been dancing a couple hours a week and thanks to The Biggest Loser becoming available on Netflix I’ve been inspired to start doing the 30 Day Shred with Joel. Joel of course dropped 10 pounds just by thinking about it. I on the other hand haven’t lost a pound and can’t really fit into any of my jeans still. Wee!

Luckily it’s been warm so I’ve been living in stretchy shorts and jersey dresses and I’m hoping the extra activity will show up on my waist line soon.

Emotionally I’m a lot more iffy. I expected to be experiencing less ups and downs since it’s not so fresh. Unfortunately that’s not the case. Surprisingly (to me anyway) I seem to be experiencing even more up and downs lately.

I posted a status the other day that said  that I feel like I’m buried in sad lately and every time I claw my way out and start to see light something new gets piled back on. It’s overwhelming.

I just wish I could talk about it. It’s not that I don’t have several people who are more than willing to listen. I have someone from a miscarriage organization that called me and I cannot make myself call her back. It’s been so long I feel guilty which makes it worse. I have many friends that have offered to listen if I want to talk. I just don’t know what to say. What is there to say?

It sucks. I hate that it happened. I’m sad. I’m scared of it happening again. I’m angry with my body.

That doesn’t take long to say. I’ve said it all before. What else is there to say?

So I don’t call anyone. And even if I did I have a tendency to act fine when people ask so I’m not sure it would help. Not that I’m trying to be fake, I just don’t know what to say other than, “Yep, it still sucks.”

So what do I do? Will I still heal if I can’t really talk about it? I want nothing more than to heal and have this make me stronger person. Is talking an essential part of healing? And if so, how do I talk about it? How?

I just don’t know how to do this.

Saying goodbye

There’s so much death surrounding me. Most notably I found out my uncle had cancer.

Four days later he was gone.

Yes, you read that right. Four days from diagnosis to death.

He was a really great guy and, even though we weren’t related by blood, when he married my aunt he definitely became family. Nothing can take that away. Not even death.

He lived in Alaska and I haven’t seen him in a long time. He loved Alaska. He always spoke of it beautifully and I meant to go visit him there one of these days. I put it off too long.

He frequently commented on my Facebook updates and I could always count on a couple cheesy email forwards from him on a regular basis. They never annoyed me though, I enjoyed the silliness or the ridiculousness even if I never forwarded them on to anyone else. He was the only one I knew who forwarded those kinds of things on still.

I’m going to miss those stupid emails.

I’m going to miss him a lot. Even if I didn’t see him much he was very much a part of my life. The internet is awesome like that.

In memory of him I’m posting an incredibly embarrassing picture of myself with him. Because this is how I’ll always remember him.

This was him, my baby sister, me and his beautiful wolf  Tawny.

Okay take a minute, we’ll acknowledge. Oh god, the shorts! the bangs! the awkward smile! So much going on here. It was 1996 y’all.

Moving on.

I feel completely blindsided by this. Like, knocked over, could puke, blown away, out of my mind that someone can get taken away this fast. It makes no sense.

I’m happy that he didn’t suffer for a long time though. According to his daughter he passed away peacefully and in no pain. Really that’s better than the long drawn out awfulness that cancer can be.

Still, I wish he didn’t have to go at all. I feel robbed. I’m mad at myself for not seizing the moment and taking a trip up to Alaska to visit him. I will go to Alaska one of these days but it would have been better to have someone that I love and who loves the state show me around.

Since I couldn’t be there to say goodbye this will have to do. He is already very, very missed.

All clear

I visited my doctor for the follow up on my D&C. Everything is normal and we now have the all clear to resume, ahem, martial relations.

Side of TMI: Five weeks is hella long to not have sex, especially after enjoying a couple months of protection and worry free married fun.

Anyway, he showed me the results from the tissue they removed and it was confirmed there were genetic abnormalities. He made sure to emphasize that it means nothing I did or didn’t do caused it and that it’s very common to have have healthy pregnancies after this kind of loss.

And, even though it was only (my word, not his) my first loss, he told me to call the minute I think I’m pregnant again and that we’ll do extra blood work and a very early ultrasound to make sure things are going well.

I love my doctor.

From what I understand up to three miscarriages in a row are considered normal. Three. Apparently some doctors don’t start any extra tests or anything before a third loss. That just blows my mind. Thankfully I have good insurance and a doctor who is very compassionate and seems to want to put my mind at ease.

The next pregnancy will still be nervewracking but at least I’ll know that everything possible is being done to make sure there is a better outcome.

So that’s my happy news for the day. I don’t know if Joel and I will decide to start trying again right away or if we’ll wait a little while still. At least I know that I’ll have extra assurances once we get those two little lines again.

Thank you

It has been four weeks since we saw nothing on the ultrasound.

Three weeks since it was confirmed that the pregnancy was not viable.

Two weeks since my D&C.

In that time I have received a lifetime’s worth of love from each and every one of you. It has taken me so long to write this because I don’t know how to do justice to how much your words have meant to me over the last month. Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough.

Every tweet, every comment, every email, every phone call, every kind word was like a hug. Each word was like air when I was drowning in pain.

I cannot express how much it all meant to me. Still means to me. My words are not enough to express how incredibly grateful I am to each and every one of you. I wish I could personally hug each of you.

At a time when I felt so utterly lost and alone and honestly wondered if I would ever find any light or any happiness ever again you all sent me that love and light through your words. Without you all I have no idea where I would be. Probably still drowning in despair. Instead I am healing and each one of you deserves some credit for that.

Thank you.

Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you.

I often find it easier to communicate through music. I listened to this song on repeat during this whole process. I first heard it on Weeds, and apparently that’s all Youtube knows it from also. Ignore the background, it’s about the words.

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