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.

One Week and Some Days Post Surgery

Life, as we all know, continues.  We get up, we stop at Starbucks, we go to work, we answer emails, we go home and make dinner.  Our household is still going and we are attempting to do just that.  Some friends and family no longer bring up the subject and have resumed talking to us as though nothing has happened.  Others offer support and encouraging words when it seems we need them the most.

Unfortunately, my body gives me daily reminders to not move on so quickly.  Yesterday, I pushed myself too far and I was hurting by the evening, enough to call my doctor this morning for her opinion.  I can’t work out, I can’t walk long distances, and cleaning the house even feels like such an exhausting chore.  My body still hasn’t fully accepted the fact I’m not pregnant which is a whole other treat in itself.

Mentally, I’m still a mess.  Life doesn’t actually move on so quickly and this isn’t something I can rush.  I haven’t made it through a day yet where I don’t cry uncontrollably.  The reminders seem to be everywhere and anywhere.  The triggers, I can’t avoid.  I am not good at putting on a fake smile and just saying I’m fine, because I’m not.  I dread going to sleep at night because I feel overwhelming guilt.  I lay there and wonder if I did something wrong, if I should have done something different, if it will happen again, and where my baby is.  I worry about time passing and dates coming and going.  What would have been second trimester, third trimester, baby shower time, and the dreaded due date.

When I sleep the nightmares come, empty cribs, cries coming from somewhere I can’t decipher, dead babies, empty arms, people stealing my baby and me not being able to get there in time.  They seem never-ending.  I wake up wanting to smack my Husband because how the fuck can he just go to sleep?

Then there is this other worry, something that seems so strange.  I worry every time my Husband walks out the door that he isn’t going to come back.  I worry that he is going to die and won’t make it back home.  I’m sure it is the obvious, lose one and you think you are going to lose it all.  This additional fear in the wake of everything else.

People comment on our marriage, how losing this baby will strain it, how we will handle it differently, how he won’t understand.  These people are wrong and don’t know my marriage.  If anything this has strengthened my marriage, brought us closer together, forced us to lean on one another more than ever for support and comfort.

People make a lot of other assumptions about our life.  They comment on future children, how we should act, how we should mourn, why you don’t do one thing but you do another.  Some comments that are meant to encourage you are actually the worst words that can be echoed.  The most random people will offer you the most amazing words to lift you up and that is when you can see it in their eyes, they have suffered the same pain, they know, they truly understand.

I try to be there for my friends, one complaining about how she doesn’t have privacy in the ICU with her newborn baby girl.  I want to scream at her how nice it must be to hold her baby because I will never hold mine.  But my friend deserves to have her own feelings in her own situation.  So I go with her and we spend a Saturday purchasing everything for the baby shower, the one I promised her.  I sat with a bottle of wine that night making diaper cakes and wrapping baby gifts, my Husband helping me in silence.  The obvious words hanging in the air.

Other times we say no.  We ignore phone calls, offers for dinner, and we even cancel plans at the last-minute.  Some people I can’t entertain, I can’t host, I can’t re-tell my story for them because for some reason they want private details.  Sometimes I just need silence and they can’t offer that.

On another side each day does somehow get slightly easier, I don’t know how to explain.  The weight of it all lightens a bit with each passing minute, hour, day, chance at laughing, smiling and enjoying the little moments.  We grieve daily in our own way, together and separately.  We don’t censor ourselves, we voice what needs to be voiced and we discuss the future.  We talk about how we are going to move forward and what this means for us.

No one can tell you how to go through this.  There isn’t a timeline, a book, or a blog that will give you an answer.  You have to follow your heart, stay true to yourself and always remember to breathe.

Losing the “Busy” Excuse

Last night a friend of mine rang and I let it go to voicemail since we were sitting down for dinner.  Once I listened to her voicemail she had listed out her schedule for the week and how “busy” she would be and how “busy” life is and so on.  If I could try to find time to call her in between her millions of things, that would be great.  I have been the one trying to get ahold of her for a couple of weeks now.  It wasn’t just for any reason, it was to tell her I was pregnant so she didn’t have to learn the news from Facebook.  But time was running out.  I shot her a picture that we are planning on posting to FB and she immediately called me.  I guess she wasn’t so busy after all.

I’m not trying to pick on my friend but I am using her as an example.  The Husband and I have been purposely trying to ban the “busy” excuse from our daily lives.  In this day where we have every means of communication available to us at our finger tips, we sure do think of a lot of excuses to not be able to call Grandma or a friend we haven’t spoken with in a couple of months.  I’m tired of getting the excuse from friends and I sure don’t want to give it back to them.

Unfortunately, as much as we live in a “busy” society, we also live in a society that doesn’t seem to know how to say “no” from time to time.  My Husband started saying “no” to side jobs.  They are great money but woah are they time-consuming and cause some serious stress.  It was adding to the busy excuse as well.  The second he started saying “no” he felt much better.  After he said it a few times it got easier and freed up time to do what he wanted to do.

Sure, some of the things that make us busy we can’t say no to.  Sometimes are lives really and truly are busy.  But the rest of it….really?  Why do we even feel the need to make the excuse?  Isn’t it a good thing to be busy, to have friends want to call and meet up, to have weekends filled with family activities, stay-cations, mini trips, long trips, or even lazy days filled with movie marathons?  That means you are alive, not busy.  That means you are doing something with your life.  You are finding purpose.  Why not enjoy it instead of rushing through it?

By losing the “busy” excuse in our summer (and saying no!) I cannot express how much more we seemed to live in the moment.  I can honestly tell you we took every minute we possibly could out of our summer and made every effort to make time stand still and summer last a bit longer.  We really aren’t busy right now, we are just indulging daily in life.

Am I Doing This Wrong?

While I have been down the baby road, it has been awhile and I have never been down the pregnancy road.  I have spent years joining in the excitement as my friends have found out they are expecting a bundle of joy.  I have listened to them as they have told me about the pregnancy books they are reading and magazines that offer them information.  I have shopped with them as they told me about the latest and greatest products that are offered for baby.  I have been a sounding board for them as they debate on the best birthing plan for them.  I have even joined those friends and coached them in the delivery room.

Over the years of watching my friends I have given thought to what I would do in their shoes.  How I would react.  What books I would order.  What research I would do.

It turns out, I was wrong about how I would go about it.

I have no desire to order a book about what to expect while I am expecting, baby names or caveman style birthing.  I have googled about two pregnancy related topics and decided to just ask my doctor and use my common sense.  I can research till I am blue in the face but I will make myself crazy over every tiny product if I do.  I did grab a sign language for babies book but that is only because my in-laws are deaf and I might as well learn with baby.

I have decided the internet and books will give you every topic of what can go wrong, what you shouldn’t eat, what you shouldn’t do and how you are wrong and everyone else is right.  All of these topics will vary culture to culture, country to country and doctor to doctor.  (Confusion)  This filters over into raising a baby as well, I remember that part.

The only thing I have looked up is how to start adjusting my yoga techniques.

Am I doing it wrong?

I eat well. I quit drinking wine.  I gave up soda and fast food years ago. I adjusted my heart medication when we first started trying to get pregnant so it would be safe for baby. I have been taking prenatal pills for a year now.  I have given up cliff diving.  (Okay, I never did that in the first place.)  And I’m getting a bit more sleep because growing a baby is a lot of work.

I have decided I am not the first woman to be pregnant.  I have decided that while I like to be informed, I don’t need to be inundated with too much information.  I have decided that already having a healthy lifestyle means I don’t have to come up with an entirely new lifestyle while pregnant.  I have decided to listen to my body as I go.  I have decided that I will not stop my life and act like my pregnancy is the only thing going on.  I have a marriage, a job, family and friends that I will not put off with lame excuses.  I have come to realize/remember that babies really don’t need much, society makes you believe they do.

And not only did I decide on this but my Husband supports this decision after I had a few days of freaking out.  Because: am I doing this wrong? We discussed what would work best for me and us. We discussed how we wanted to go down the pregnancy path.  Sure, it could change as this goes but for right now, this is what works.

Am I doing it wrong?  I don’t know but today I feel like I’m doing it right.

 

 

 

Telling Rebecca

My kid is no dummy.  There have been a few times that she has looked at me sideways.  She has questioned why I haven’t had wine repeatedly.  She tried to catch us and ask if she would have a sibling by the time she is 13.  (Her bday is May, baby will be here April.)  We wanted to wait a bit longer to share the news with her because she is a kid, a girl, a young lady who can’t hold secrets is really what I’m saying.

I had ordered her a big sister shirt but it was slow to be shipped.  Instead, we sat her down one night and told her we needed to have a discussion.  You could tell she was trying to read our faces.  I handed her an envelope and told her to open it.  It had the ultrasound pictures in it.  The first thing she said was “I knew it! You weren’t drinking wine! I knew it!”  Then she stared at me like the baby might come crawling out any minute or perhaps I grew a third head suddenly.

It was slowly sinking in.

She did some bouncing around, she squealed and then we went to dinner.  That is where the questions started and have yet to stop.  At one point she simply stated, “I’m going to have a lot of questions about this.”  I understand kid.

Some of the best have been:

Will you have it Duggar style?  Like, in the bath tub, at home, with everyone? (Referring to the 19 Kids and Counting show on TLC.)

If I’m with you when you go into labor is there some sort of waiting room for kids or can Dad come get me?  I don’t want to see the “stuff.”  (Thank God her Dad lives literally 4 blocks from the hospital.)

How fat are you going to get?

Can you feel it moving yet?

Where does it pee at?

Can I go with when we find out what it is and if I go does it involve yucky stuff?

Are we still going on vacation next year?

Why do your boobs hurt?

Can you go swimming with me?

How much room is it going to take up in the backseat? (The girl travels heavy I tell ya.)

We aren’t going to turn weird and get a mini-van are we? (Hell, no.  No offense to you mini-van drivers.)

Are you sure I won’t have to share my birthday month?

Do I have to share any parts of my room with this baby?

How exactly did you know you were pregnant?

And it has gone on and on and on from there….

We will tell our parents (finally) this weekend.  She is ready to bust at the seams to share the news.

 

 

How Far Do You Support?

I went through my divorce.  I struggled through moments, I cried, I laughed, I changed, I learned and it happened.  I did not skip parts, ignore parts, pretend it didn’t happen or back pedal in that divorce.

I did it the best way I knew how.  I did what worked for me and I am ever so grateful that my divorce was amicable.  Amicable enough to even use the same lawyer and go out to lunch together after the judge announced us no longer husband and wife.

Not everyone gets that, I understand.  And let me say, everyone’s divorce is different.

Years later here I am with a friend in my house and her three children.  Her arms are covered in bruises from her husband.  We sat in a lawyer’s office this morning and she was all over the board.  I sat there getting frustrated.  Just what did she want exactly?  What are her goals?  Ten years I’ve listened to them two yell, fight and carry on.  I’ve supported her, given her places to stay and bit my tongue.  Now they are in my house, living on my bank account and she wants to find an easier route then actually going through it.

And she looks at me like I have no clue what I’m talking about.

I want to scream at her.  Shake her.  Tell her what reality is.  I could go on and on but here is where I am at.  I’m sitting in a chair next to her, pregnant.  I have a job I’m late getting to.  I have a beautiful, brand new house that I got up early to clean this morning because there are 4 extra people and a puppy staying there.  I have a Husband that will come home tonight that I will be happy to see.  You see, I worked hard for that.  Damn hard.  So while I will be supportive of friends when is enough, enough? When do your morals win out?  When do you tell your friend she is going to have to learn the hard way?  I’ve already done it.  I’ve been there.  I feel the stress today, stress that isn’t mine because I remember those days all to well but these aren’t my days.  No, they are hers.

It is a funny thing, being the already divorced person.  I completely understand the steps but no, I will not do it for another person.  The other thing I’m realizing, I can no longer be supportive of a toxic situation someone chooses to put them selves in daily.  It is exhausting.