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.

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.