The Vacation-Dominican Republic

The day of my surgery I was in a hospital bed emailing my travel agent.  We needed a vacation.  Whenever life gets really tough for me, I take flight.  I run somewhere that I can breathe and take a step back.  By just booking a trip it gives me something to focus on.  Not that I’m trying to run from dealing with life in general but I need to go to a  place where I know I can find myself again.  The ocean does it for me every time.  So we booked the next place on our travel list and the first week in December we left the beginnings of holiday chaos behind for 82 degrees and a beach.

I was stressed before we left.  A stress that left me feeling like I couldn’t get a grip on anything.  I couldn’t even get excited for my trip because life was happening and details that I couldn’t get to were sending me over the edge.  I didn’t get a manicure, I didn’t get a wax, I didn’t swing in for a few tanning bed sessions, I didn’t acknowledge the state of my toes and I didn’t bother shopping for anything new and fun to wear.  I threw old swimsuits in a bag along with my go-to summer dresses and a bottle of nail polish and called it good.  My Husband questioned why I, for once, didn’t over pack.

There is that moment when you get on a plane and turn off your phone for an entire week, that moment, that is where I exhaled that early morning.  I exhaled for the first time in a long time.  There was nothing I could do about anything at that point.  If it wasn’t taken care of or finished then it would have to wait until we got back.  We unplugged.  I found the first mimosa I could at our layover and sipped it happily.  I looked at my Husband and truly smiled at him.

I know we all say it on vacations or at least we should, we found ourselves again on this vacation.  I look at our pictures and can see we look five years younger.  The stress of the past couple of months slowly faded from our faces.  The color came back to us and not just in the form of a tan.

During the day we spent our time at the beach and I couldn’t even bother to read a book.  I just sat, soaking up the sun, listening to the ocean, drinking rum.  Just being still.  Every evening we sat on our balcony and talked, the stress so far behind us.  There wasn’t the ghost of a baby in the room with us and I didn’t feel like people were walking on egg shells around me.  There was no Facebook to throw another pregnancy announcement in my face or any other social media to remind me that I should be nearing the end of my second trimester.  Instead I was fine being in the moment with my Husband.  I was fine with being us and not keeping track of time.  I was fine keeping life simple and unapologetic.

Here is the thing about coming back to reality though.  The beach doesn’t solve everything. Yes, it gave us space in between breaths that we needed.  But, it doesn’t take away this ache of how I miss my baby, a feeling I never thought I would have and can’t explain.  It didn’t give me an answer on what to do next.  That is okay though because there are no answers and only time will get us where we need to be next.  This trip just gave us a new starting point.

 

Divorce vs. Miscarriage

We sat around my living room, 3 women,  with loaded glasses of wine, on a Friday night.  We were way past due for a wine night and had lots to catch up on.  I had not told these girls about my miscarriage, one woman had yet to fill us in on the night her Husband left her after 6 months of marriage and another was stressing about her son that needed testing in school.  That is a lot of heavy talk in one evening and we each sat with our own bottles of wine on the end tables next to us.  By 2 am they were each empty.

As everyone’s stories were discussed at length I was asked a very tough question.

What do you think has been harder to go through in your life, your divorce or the miscarriage?

Old emotions had been brought up through the night discussing the one woman’s divorce.  Emotions that never seem far away.  And there are no scars covering the current emotions of my recent miscarriage.  I sat, staring at my glass of wine, thinking, while they sat in silence waiting for the answer.

The basic answer: my divorce was harder.

My divorce was a time that I had to suffer greatly on my own.  A world where the nights seemed endless, everything was falling apart, and nothing was once what it was.  The whole process to grieve and move forward was partially on someone elses time frame.  I couldn’t control my future because my entire life was pending the decisions of many others, including lawyers and the court.  It took forever to gain some sort of footing and when I did it was on entirely new ground.  Everything in my entire life changed and I only had myself.

Through my miscarriage I have had my Husband.  We get through each day together, we still have one another, we still have love, and we still have our home.  We can grieve on our own terms.  As much as we didn’t have control over what happened to our baby we have control of how we want to move forward.  Our life will never be the same but we still have one another and it has made us stronger than ever.

Isn’t that the best part of having a strong marriage?  When life gets hard you have someone to turn to. You don’t have to face the tough times by yourself.

My divorce was one of the most life altering things to happen in my life and it is amazing how often I turn back to the life lessons I learned then and pertain them my new life today.  At the end of our lives I’m sure we can look back and see how all of our ups and downs were actually so intricately woven together to make the perfect story of how we are our own heros.

 

 

8 Weeks Later

It has been 8 weeks from that horrible Thursday that altered our world.  These are the things I can tell you about.

I can tell you that lately the days have gotten easier.

The nightmares are slowing and I’m starting to get more good nights of sleep than bad.

The Summer feels like it happened forever ago.

My body is back to normal and I have thrown myself back in to working out.

I can talk about my miscarriage and my current feelings without sobbing.

I will bring up my miscarriage if need be with no regard for how it might make those around me uncomfortable.

I have held my friend’s newborn on several occasions and it makes me ache.

I still can’t go near the baby section of any store.

We still measure time with, when I was pregnant, before I was pregnant, and after the baby.  It is hard not to.

We are not using any form of birth control and I know how slim the chances are of us just getting pregnant on a whim.  I am still scared to death that I will get pregnant. I know I am emotionally not ready for this.

There is now a photo from the Carly Marie Project hanging on the wall in our bedroom.  I needed something tangible.  A reminder.  A memory.  I have found her website to be so helpful.

I want to punch people when they make comments about the Husband and I not having kids yet or asking when we will.  I have had to excuse myself from many tables, conversations and rooms to avoid this.

I turned down additional blood testing that was offered by my doctor to figure out what else may have caused my miscarriage.  My insurance won’t cover it and it is something I can choose to look at later but right now I am trying to ignore the hospital at all costs.

The hospital bills have started coming in from my surgery, ultrasounds, appointments.  If that doesn’t piss a person off, I don’t know what does.

I have found that distractions help me move forward.  At first it was a costume party, now it is a trip to the Dominican Republic. The Husband has been drowning in work which has helped him.

Friends that are due at the same time I was are starting to post their gender reveals on FB.  I realize I will forever look at that baby of theirs and think that I should have one the same age.  I realize that you can’t get rid of every reminder.  Hell, even Princess Kate and Carrie Underwood are due the same time I was, there is no hiding from that media reminder.

The most important thing I can say, that is always the hardest to realize in bad times, is Life Goes On.  It does.  We move forward and it gets easier to breathe.  And for those moments where it is hard to breathe, I can step back, acknowledge, inhale, exhale, and find stillness.

This is how we are eight weeks later.

 

 

 

 

 

This is Our Marriage – Two Years.

I have spent two weeks trying to come up with something meaningful and heartfelt for our two-year anniversary post.  You know, something tear jerker worthy.

I’ve got nothing.

Our anniversary was pretty tame as the Husband has been stuck working 80+ hour weeks and it’s fair to say, he is exhausted.  We settled for a night of shopping for our upcoming trip, dinner, and then dessert at home with the dog.

We sat at dinner discussing how the past two years has flown, which it has.  About how much life has happened to us in the short amount of time.  You think you get married and then the fairytale begins.  Everything should be rainbows and butterflies but it isn’t.  Not that either of us expected it to be like that.

You know, you grow up and you have this picture in your mind of what your future Husband will be like, what your marriage will be like, how you will love him, where you will live, how many kids you will have and when.  It was all a game of MASH back then.  Simply put on paper at recess with some giggles.  I can tell you that none of that will happen.  At least not how you expect it to.  It is something so much greater than that, much sweeter, much more chaotic and unplanned but damn it is all worth it.

Our  marriage is not the stuff fairy tales are made of but I wouldn’t trade it for anything because it is still our story.  He was the greatest surprise in my life and I wouldn’t change it for anything.  The best part is knowing, no matter what happens, I will have him there, next to me, holding my hand.  Here is to many more years together.  Through the good, bad, ugly and beautiful.

October 15th – Babyloss Remembrance Day

I will admit, before my miscarriage, I had no idea what October 15th stood for.  I had no idea because it didn’t affect me, it didn’t affect my friends or family members and no one had mentioned this day. How naive of me to think that. This day now means something to me and many people who I do know.  October 15th stands for Babyloss Remembrance Day. This is a time to spread awareness and recognize everyone who has lost a child to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, SIDS and other causes.

Since my miscarriage people have come to me and shared their stories from when they lost their own child too soon.  A story that they have kept buried deep, something that isn’t brought up amongst friends.  A story that their own family may not know about.  Imagine my shock when my own maid of honor stood in front of me and told me she had an 8 week miscarriage.  Something she never even told her own mother until years after the fact.

I can understand why people hold this secret close and don’t talk about it.  My extended family doesn’t know about our loss.  We hadn’t yet made phone calls to tell them I was pregnant, so I didn’t want to make the phone call to explain our loss.  Part of me didn’t want to tell the same story over and over but there is a part of me that wishes they knew.  I want them to know our butterfly baby existed, that she meant something to us, and that we hold this in our hearts.

The other reason we don’t share our news, like it seems many others don’t, is the lack of understanding from others.  We have had a lot of tough comments made to us regarding the situation.  We have been made to feel that we were not grieving correctly, that we were making to “big of a deal” out of the situation, that we should have known the chances of this occurring, that this wasn’t a real loss or real baby.  I don’t believe people made these comments to hurt us but people are misinformed about the subject.  People want to be able to measure and quantify your loss, more so they can find a way to better understand it, there is no way to do this though.  Sometimes people say the words to fill the silence, when just the silence is better.

With a miscarriage people will say it is sad but they don’t understand everything else that comes with it.  The stuff that isn’t in a pamphlet or isn’t cured with an ibuprofen.  The nightmares, the sadness that will creep in out of no where, the inability to sleep, the hatefulness towards other pregnant women, the separation anxiety that you will have with your living child, husband or even dog.  This is followed with a fear of getting pregnant again, the feeling of being robbed of any happiness for future pregnancies, the lack of faith in my own body and the challenge of a feeling like I am on a never-ending journey that I don’t want to define my life.

I now live in a before baby and after baby life.  I can tell you I bought those pudding cups when I was pregnant because they tasted great.  I bought that wine before I realized I was pregnant.  I ordered those decorations after my baby’s heart stopped but I didn’t know it yet. I knew the oil needed changed in the truck when I knew my baby was dead and it was changed after my surgery.  This is how time in my life is currently being measured.  It is my own way of dealing and separating.  My own way of measuring my loss and what it has done to affect us.

I am not the only one.  We are not the only couple.  There are 1 in 4 women out there that understand.  People that have lived this, are living this, and have yet to live it but unfortunately will.

This October 15th will mean something to me and my Husband.  I will think of my own Butterfly baby and so many others that never took their first breath.  I will think of all the Mom’s and Dad’s, who will never be able to hold the baby they were praying for, in their arms.  The wombs that feel empty, the rooms void of what the future may hold, the faith that is broken, the tears that may fall without notice.  I understand now.  I feel your pain now. I hold my own secret now but I don’t want to bury it and I urge others not to bury it.  We eventually find the way to move forward in our lives but that does not mean we forget the child we lost.  They are apart of us, our story, our family and in our hearts forever.

“When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses his or her partner, they are called a widow or widower.  When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.” President Ronald Reagan

 

Baby Loss Day Butterfly

And where do we go from here

I was ready to vomit in the parking lot of the hospital Friday.  My nerves were getting the best of me when we were merely there for a last appointment with my OB/GYN.  As my Husband reminded me, what could she possibly say that was worse than what we had already been through?  True, just the thought of walking in there was making me crazy though.  I clung to his hand the whole way in, fighting back tears, the recent memories flooding my brain.

The doc declared me back to “normal” down south.  I was free to go back to sex and working out, two of my favorite things, after wine of course.  We went back over the conversation of the chromosomal testing, that we had two days prior.  I fought back more tears.  It seemed so technical at this point. She asked if we wanted a form of birth control, wanted to go right back to trying or were we just going to be careful?  I laughed.  We aren’t the couple that CAN get accidentally pregnant.  I mean, we could, if the stars were fucking aligned all wonky.  (It’s a word, I swear.)  We explained where we felt like we were at, well more me, than my Husband.  Not that his feelings don’t count but I’m the one that is a hormonal mess right now.  We feel like we have had enough for one year so we are just going to take the baby topic off the table till after the Holidays.  If we feel ready at that time then she said we just call back up the fertility specialist and start all over.

All over.  From the beginning. 

That was enough for one appointment for me.

The doctor left and we sat in the exam room in silence.  That was it.  It was over.

I held back more tears as we walked out of the hospital.  We walked by happy pregnant women, people carrying their babies, one couple complaining how they only got three ultrasound pictures -the horror.

22 months of trying, all the fertility appointments, tracking, tears, joy of a positive pregnancy test, wishing, praying, hope, miscarriage, surgery, and everything in between, we walked away with absolutely nothing.  I felt so empty and it all felt so final.  I have nothing tangible.  Only the nightmares and separation anxiety that follow me around.

It is a strange journey to be on.  We may not look like parents but somewhere we have a little girl, that for a moment, was truly with us.  We may not have anything to show for her but three ultrasound pictures and some outfits we couldn’t help but buy, but she has changed us.  My file may be closed at the doctors office for now and everyone else has moved on from it but us and that is okay.  It takes time.

I went back to yoga and I think I took my first deep breaths in weeks.  I cleared my head and there were times I thought the emotions were going to take over but I was able to get control again.  I was able to move in my body for the first time in weeks and feel comfortable, know where I was going, sink into a safe place.  It felt good.  Slowly there are more good days gained.

Chromosomal Testing

The day we found out our baby’s heart ceased to beat, we sat talking to my doctor.  She quietly spoke about options and other things that all seem a bit blurry now.  In the midst of that she did mention chromosomal testing for our butterfly baby.  I remember at the time I just nodded my head and didn’t think about it much until the actual day of my surgery and she had brought it up again.  My wonderful doctor had spoken with my insurance company about this testing and got them to agree to cover the expenses.  We were told the results would be couple of weeks out but basically it could tell us if there had been something wrong with our baby or if there was nothing wrong.  We had about a 50% chance of learning something.

I can tell you, for the past couple of weeks, I have gone back and forth over what I thought I might want her to tell me.  There is nothing that can bring our baby back but you can over think this.  If we knew what was wrong, then I can point my finger at chromosome this or that and place blame. But what if it was a result that said this could happen again and again? Or what if the results came back with nothing? Then I felt like there was nothing and no one to point my finger at but myself.  What if that meant it was something I did?

What if?

What if…..

This was a big ass mixed bag of emotions and I didn’t know if I was ready to hear the answer.  I had an appointment scheduled and would hear then.

Although that didn’t happen.  I didn’t have to wait quite as long and my Doc called me with the results when I wasn’t ready.  I wasn’t mentally prepared.  I was prepared to be nervous and sick to my stomach at my appointment later in the week, not here in a busy restaurant, at lunch, while talking on the phone.

We got our pleasantries out of the way and she informed me that the test came back showing nothing.  No abnormalities in our little girl.  And that yes, it was most likely a girl.

I ordered a glass of wine.

And I just kind of felt numb.

Doc told me she understood how the emotions can be all over on this one.  You want there to be something, yet you don’t.  I know that honestly, it is good news.  I can’t let my brain go anywhere but that.  There is just some reason, that we will never know, that this baby wasn’t meant to stay with us.  We will go to our appointment on Friday and discuss all of our options and how we plan to move forward from this here.  There is nothing more we can do at this point.