a reflection to heal.
It’s January 19th. This weekend, nine months prior, we conceived our fifth baby on a four-day weekend with framily, sans kids. I spent 4 weeks in 2018 viewing this very week as the week I would be holding my fifth baby after their birth. You see, I always deliver “right on time”. At 40 weeks. (Ironic. I have spent most of my 40 years of life notoriously late in every other facet.) Five weeks after that fun weekend, we lost our baby in a miscarriage. We were, technically, seven-and-a-half-weeks pregnant. I was in my 4th week of gleefully knowing we were pregnant; my husband his 3rd.
This is my 5th – and final subject dedication – post on my miscarriage.
Previous four posts can be viewed via my home page, or quickly at the following links:
1st post, 2 June 2018-
a brief sharing as I cope
2nd post, 11 June 2018-
miscarriage revisit, part 1
3rd post, 19 June 2018-
miscarriage revisit, part 2
4th post, 9 Sept 2018-
miscarriage revisit, part 3
I am picking up where I departed from my third post, miscarriage revisit part 2.
After my husband made the call, he mentioned letting the big girls know we were headed to the ER. I vehemently shook my head, no. My first born’s 14th birthday celebration was later that evening into the next day. Tonight, was a sit-down dinner with her friends – guys and gals – with a slumber party for the young ladies after. Family was the next day. I did not want one tint of sadness for her amidst her special evening with friends. Strep throat of a younger sister had already altered a birthday party for her two years prior. He agreed.
We met my sister in our garage to hand over the baby as she would stay there to be available to our older three as they awoke. She offered reassurance with her smile, embrace, and words of experience, which ultimately resulted in the beautiful birth of my niece. I explained the amount of blood, and she again offered optimism. As is her nature- her name – after all – is, Faith.
Donald and I got into my SUV. As he began driving, it felt as though someone was in our vehicle with a horrible broken bone, blow to the head, or worse. My body- exceptionally tense, as though I was willing the baby to hang on. My mind- hanging on to the hope of my sister’s words… Logic set in- “they will not attempt to save your seven-and-a-half-week-old fetus,” followed by “accept what is happening.” I cried some more for my baby who was more than a fetus to me. “Baby, there is no use in speeding. They will not be able to stop it. We are too early in the pregnancy.” No words. Just a blank look at me as he returned his gaze to the road and continued to drive on hurriedly.
When my thoughts were too much to bare, when all the previous notions over the last week something wasn’t right reared their ugly head, I began to pray, “thy will” over and over.
We arrived at the hospital. We checked in. They called for me exceptionally quick. Time seemed to double in time to move painstakingly slow with an array of people in and out of the room with a series of questions I remembered crystal clear for months after, but are now just a blurry haze. I remember blood was drawn and having to walk to the bathroom to provide them urine and feeling a tinge of anger at having to move which was making my baby less safe. So, I prayed, “thy will” some more.
The urine and blood provided pregnancy hormones equating to seven to eight weeks pregnant. A confirmation, yes, but we already knew how far along we were. I wanted to cling to those hormone levels. I wanted to will the awkward feelings I was having the last week to mean I was having a boy. I wanted to will this leak of blood to just be further proof I was having a boy. I wanted all these differences I had never felt to only mean I was pregnant with a boy this time who was going to make it. I wanted the baby to grab ahold of me and stay. But, I knew. So, I cried. A lot. Laying in the bed. And, I prayed, “thy will” again.
I was called for the ultrasound. This was potentially the most devastatingly isolated moment of all. My husband could not join me. The sonographer could not verbalize what she was observing nor what was transpiring. I continued to pray, “thy will”. Then, I heard a cadence from the ultrasound machine. For a fleeting moment all fear was lost and was replaced with a keen sense of utter hope. I waited for the sonographer to smile and say, “there’s your baby’s heartbeat.” But, no words came from her. An insurmountable wave of awareness flooded my entire being- mind, body, heart, spirit, and soul. I felt an unbearable taste of awareness. I braved an inquiry. I sounded like a child as my weak voice simply asked, “was that my baby’s heartbeat?” as tears poured down my face. She turned to me. You could see her sympathy; it was unavoidable in her eyes.
She delicately explained it was my uterus moving blood towards the fetus. I nodded understanding, adding, “I know you cannot divulge what is going on. I know that is why my husband could not come back with me.” How I longed for his hand, his eyes to look into, his face to absorb my silent thoughts, to have my best friend with me in that dark room. She apologized for not being able to elaborate on what she was seeing knowing how much harder the silence makes it for the patient. She confirmed the measurement of the fetus confirmed we were seven to eight weeks along. My body was still held so tight willing my baby to stay with me. As the silence returned to the dark room and the sonographer tilted her screen further away from my view, I felt swallowed. Alone. I prayed “thy will” more.
I returned to my husband in my ER room. His face hopeful and eager for news. The sonographer explained someone would be in after the report was viewed. In his blanket of positivity, he leaned in, took my hand, and smiled. I began to cry. I couldn’t speak. He embraced me. He joined me on the bed to hold me more. Once I could find my voice, I explained the scenario of the ultrasound. He cried, too.
It must have been two more hours later; it felt like forever. I was getting angrily antsy. The Dr came in to explain again the hormone levels measured in the blood and urine as well as the measurements of the ultrasound proved we were definitely seven to eight weeks pregnant. He confirmed a heartbeat could not be located. He added heartbeats are not always easy to locate this early, but they can almost always be heard at eight weeks and beyond. He stated we should see my Ob/Gyn on Tuesday (it was Memorial weekend; closed Monday). He added bleeding in the first trimester is not uncommon. I felt no hope in his words. Not sure if he could sense my perception my baby was not going to make it, or if he is always so blunt, but he added, “we cannot confirm whether or not you are miscarrying at this point. You will know in the coming days,” as he proceeded to explain what the miscarry will look like.
We were released.
We drove home. I continued to cry. Donald and I agreed we would not allude to my condition to our children. We felt we would wait til Tuesday’s appointment.
As we came home, the big girls were slowly waking and/or still asleep. My sister followed us to our room. We filled her in. I frustratingly whined, “why does this shit keep happening to us?! Why can’t we catch a break?” She looked at me in complete confusion (almost insulted by my words), and pointed out, “what are you even talking about? Y’all have four beautiful children. Plenty to be thankful for.” I knew she was right. I was just not ready to hear those poignant words just yet.
As the day progressed leading up to the birthday dinner, we busied ourselves with making cake balls for desert, completing party favors for her friends, and stealing moments to cry, or compose ourselves. At some point, I felt I was hiding my emotions well. Our children are quite intuitive though. Since we encourage them to hold us accountable when we are snarky, they did just that. My first born flat out asked, “what is wrong, Momma? Why are you so frustrated?” The immediate gulp in my throat was evident. My husband disguised it with an explanation of pregnancy symptoms. She immediately acquiesced and suggested I go take a nap. (sweet. heart.) It was when our eight-year-old (at the time) asked about the baby in my belly and the big girls chimed in, the gulp in my throat turned to a boulder. At a loss, I looked at my husband, who could not speak. Grace found its way to me as I answered easily as though all was right in our world.
We continued in this manner the rest of the day. Speaking to one another with looks and bearing the weight together. The birthday dinner and slumber party were a joyous success. The only disappointment my girl felt were the few last-minute cancellations. That evening, we held each other as we laid in bed. We lightly braved discussion of the potential outcomes, and sleep eventually won.
The next morning, as I was using the bathroom, it became heartbreakingly apparent we lost our baby. Godwinked my husband to be in the bathroom at the very moment. I was such a physical mess, I could not handle what was transpiring by myself. My husband literally had to assist in cleaning me up as well as gathering me the products I would need to sustain the continuation of the miscarry. As appalling as the visual may seem, there is a touch of beauty in our being together when I passed the baby.
Once I was cleaned up, we held each other and cried. A lot. We knew we would not be able to withstand the inquiries from family on how I was feeling, the belly touches from the ladies, the excitement from the nieces and nephews… We chose to sit our girls down and tell them prior to family arriving. Some of our children had mixed emotions- relief I was safe from danger as the previous pregnancy was quite scary for us all, heartbreak for losing a sibling, and sadness to see their parents grieve.
Knowing we didn’t want to share the news over and over nor expose the birthday girl to such grief over and over on her family party, my husband tasked me with typing the text to send to all our family prior to the gathering. As each crew arrived, words were minimal, but the hugs were devotedly big.
The next day, Memorial Day, we spent at my sisters with our kids. Someone offered me a beer. I declined. An ember of hope just refused to accept it 100% until my Dr’s appt the next day. I chose instead to post on my blog. Sitting in the back yard, kids jumping in kiddie pools, deer stands being worked on, etc, I had a laptop in my lap, typing away. Therapy. Wading in denial. The first stage of grief.
Tuesday beckoned, and we headed to the Ob/Gyn. The blood and urine test still showed pregnancy hormones. We had to wait two hours for the ultrasound. We went to eat lunch. As we sat down to eat, they called for us sooner. We packed up our food and headed back. The ultrasound proved the baby had passed. I was empty.
Every fiber of my being was empty, too.
We confirmed the news with our oldest as her school ended the week prior. We shared the news with our families.
My husband took me back home. We hugged and cried some more. He headed back to work. I headed up to the elementary to complete my room mom duties for my second grader. Sure, I could have laid down in bed, cried, and rested… but, it just is not my nature.
We shared the news with our other children that evening. As night approached, we sent texts and messages to extended family and friends. The thought of random texts and messages to check on my pregnancy was less attractive than a wasp sting. I needed to be sure I was not going to be in an unexpected position to explain I miscarried.
A few days later, I braved my blog with my first post to share the news as I found healing in Hillary Scott’s, “Thy Will,” which continues to resonate with my maternal soul. My angel squad continues to show up through my successes and hardships. Dedicated. Committed. It was through a dear friend of this group whom nudged me to revisit the song, research her testimony, and allow myself to grieve. I did. I eventually laid in bed for a few hours, cried myself to sleep, and sat in my pjs all day.
Denial perpetuated. I was mourning my baby I already envisioned for an entire month a life with our family. Everyone was living normal life. There was no funeral. There was no time off for my husband to grieve with me. It seemed our loss was predominantly viewed as an unfortunate event. Like, this was a normal and common mishap resiliency would dominate. My logical side understood the world’s perception. My emotional side, my heart, my Momminess saw it all cruel.
Genuine understanding approached me in more women than I would have ever fathomed. Family and friends’ personal losses were shared with me. Easily. I never knew prior. It was an unspoken hurt. They knew my pain. They knew I was not afforded the right to speak about it regularly. Their sharing arrived when they pristinely knew the rest of the world would stop checking on me. We share a bond in the most undesirable fashion. God bless the women who have lost their babies in any step of their baby’s/babies’ life/lives. Their individual stories brought perspective and hope. Knowing I was not alone allowed a bit of normalcy back into my body. When they explained I would always hurt, always wonder “what if my baby were here…” for every event, always wish… I allowed myself to let it begin to sink in. Slowly.
The hardest part for me this time… I did not want this loss. There was no bittersweet aspect. I have a beautiful life with a loving husband whom I want to grow old with. This broke my heart to the core of me.
I felt if I give my all to every facet of my life and the people in it, I would be awarded another child. A rainbow baby to heal from the loss of my miscarriage and quench my desire to have a second child with my husband, a fifth overall, a constant playmate and sibling for Dylan, another baby sibling for Kilea, Marina, and Maycee… My husband just wasn’t ready to broach the subject.
Not allowing our summer to be robbed, I got busy (aka, I avoided). I dove into my blog. I stepped up to be challenged by social media for my blog. We kept pursuing our LLC’s dream. We bought a house. We had the girls’ rooms painted. We went sailing. I was surprised with a 40th birthday celebration. All my family and friends expected me to cry at the surprise, but I had placed my emotions up on a very high shelf. I was ecstatic instead. I chose to just laugh, smile, and hug everyone at my birthday party. I was celebrated again by my angel squad in a quaint girls’ dinner at one of our fave restaurants. We moved. My husband turned 38. I really turned 40. We vacationed for nine days at the lake with our kids and family. We unpacked. We extended our driveway. We vacationed for 11 days at the beach in our camper. We returned home. We unpacked some more. I avoided any encounter which would stir up an inkling of the short time I was pregnant, which means I hardly attended a cook-off with our team. I continued to unpack. I decorated. We shopped for clothes and shoes for the fast approaching school year. The entire summer consisted of good food, plenty of drinks, exciting times, and unfortunately, a short fuse for me as I avoided my pain. My anxiety was at an all-time high. I needed to talk with my husband. He was buried in overtime. Our schedules were inundated. Anger invaded my spirit and soul. The second stage of grief. I scheduled with my counselor. I was not pretty during this stage. We’ll just leave it at that.
School started. All my big girls were off growing their brains. Suddenly, I was home alone with just the baby and me. The loss was unavoidable now. The habitual routines were back. Too much time on my hands.
And… I just about had a nervous breakdown. I literally thought I was having a heart attack. My sister came to pick up the baby. My parents drove me to the ER. My husband arrived, overwhelmed with the work he had to step away from, no doubt annoyed with dealing with me, worried about me none-the-less, and I was admitted. He stayed with me. My sister cared for our girls. Not a heart attack. Just the tachycardia arrythmia I usually only have while pregnant, which has decided to become a permanent fixture in my chest. After monitoring my heart for 24 hours and locating a medicine to calm my heart, I was released. In the coming days, we learned insurance would not cover the medicine, so I had to settle for a different option. This option brought worse symptoms. My body has never handled medicine well, so I chose to alter my diet, increase my workouts, and focus on allowing my anxiety to be faced.
My husband and I came toe-to-toe with the inevitable conversation and decision- we would not try for another child. Just as I was entering the third stage of grief for the miscarriage, which is bargaining, I had to begin to grieve the fact we would not have any more children. These two griefs moved along in parallel. The original loss of the miscarriage decided to cob a squat in bargaining, while the other faced each stage methodically, step by step over the next few months. Looked similar to this:
Miscarriage – stuck at the 3rd stage of grief – Bargaining: Sept, Oct, Nov.
No more kids – 1st stage, Denial: Sept. 2nd stage, Anger: Oct. 3rd stage, Bargaining: Nov.
Early October, simmering in bargaining and coupled with anger, my husband and I took a long over-due three-day weekend trip to Vegas to celebrate our third wedding anniversary a month-and-a-half late. We truly experienced one of our most favorite memories and outings together in The Valley of Fire State Park and Hoover Dam in Nevada. We also encountered difficult conversations trying to find our way out of this tangled hurt and locate a new normal.
The two griefs running parallel joined forces in December in the fourth stage, Depression. Easy for them to grab hands and waylay me into that direction, though. I had fallen off the top step of my deer stand, six feet up, and broke a bone in the back left of my foot and ruptured ligaments in the right side of my foot and ankle. (Another Godwink as my injury could have been much worse). When you are in a hard stint cast for two weeks, sitting on your arse, you have too much time to think. Add another two weeks in a boot on crutches and/or a scooter. Yep, still too much time to think. A month of thoughts with no physical activity to preoccupy or process your time. I did laundry… but we all know what happens when you do laundry- you think.
With all this fortifying comprehension, it dawned on me sometime during a contemplative reverie- Had we not miscarried in May at seven-and-a-half-weeks pregnant, I would have been seven-and-a-half-months pregnant when I fell from my deer stand in November. Pretty obvious what would happen if a seven-and-a-half-month pregnant woman fell from six feet. Not to mention the 13-minute golf cart ride back to the cabin with minimal cell service to get into a truck to head to a hospital almost 30 minutes away. Depression overcame my mind two folds as it became obvious, I was not destined to have a fifth child.
As God proves to not leave us alone, he wrapped his arms around me and gingerly moved me into the fifth and final stage of grief, Acceptance. Arriving here was not initially desired. I knew the journey was going to be tumultuous. I also knew, if I did not allow myself to feel, process, and move through each stage at my own timing, I would not heal. I have weathered the stages of painstaking grief before. Healing does not mean the pain goes away for me. Healing simply means I grow around the pain. It is a part of me. It always will be.
Honeyed aspect through these last five months of this journey- God has placed people in my path to allow me to help, which brought me back to the classroom, to my beloved district, and ultimately to signing a contract as faculty again. There are so many kids who need to be believed in. I get to see about 150 a day.
As I have healed more with my foot and ankle injury, I have also healed more from my loss. My spirit and soul have been reawakened. I have recommitted to my faith. Not alone either, my family is joining me. We are growing together.
I also long for the next time I can run. I have actually dreamt a good run- wind blowing in my face and hair, feeling my muscles move my legs, the methodical breathing, and the smile in my soul for it. When I wake, I am not deterred. I know I will get to train again. I have accepted this injury, too (the grief process for this lil doozy for my foot/ankle was much easier to accomplish). I believe God allowed me to fall from my deer stand step six feet high off the ground. I believe His angels protected me from a far worse injury. I believe this occurred in order for me to truly heal from the inside out.
Fitting. As 2019 entered, I was ready. There is an innate calm within. I am just ready. Here’s to 40, and the maternal grace accompanying this segment of my life.
I will be posting this soon. Bringing this dedicated chapter of my life to a close on my blog. I never imagined I would touch this subject here when I built my blog. It has now taken up 1/5 of my posts thus far. This is my personal 25th post (15 to go for that original 40 goal); 27 total to include my guest blogger.
Knowing I have helped many of you has truly helped me. Thank your for reading and sharing.
For those of you hurting, too, allow yourself to heal. Hugs.
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