Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Truth Be Told

It has been a week now since my miscarriage.  I think I have some thoughts that I just need to get off of my chest.  I've done a pretty good job keeping it together, and trying to move on.  But in that time, I think I have neglected my feelings and put more stress and grief on myself.  It's so hard to go through a miscarriage and have all of these emotions.  Of course, there's the physical pain, but I think the emotions just make it ten times more excruciating.  It must be my way of guarding my heart from feeling broken, so I've suppressed what's been going on in my own mind.

Thanks to Pinterest, I came across this amazing blog series:  Miscellaneous from Missy: I Have to Be Honest.    It is a 6 part series with 2 additional posts from a guest.  It is quite a read, but definitely so worth it.  It really revolves around miscarriage and faith.  I won't lie, I've had my own personal battles with God during this past year.  I've loved Him and thanked Him for blessing me so.  I've relied on prayer.  But I haven't really attached myself to Him and I've pulled away from Him.  This is something I need to work on this year.  This blog series really opened up my eyes and made me reevaluate my relationship with God.  For all that He has given to me and done for me, I owe Him more respect and love than what I give.

In 2013, my emotions were just all over the place.  Travis and I had secretly tried to have a baby since February.  Every month, I counted the days.  I waited patiently.  I was eager to find to happy pink lines on a pregnancy test.  When each month passed, I was visited by the annoying Aunt Flow or I found another negative test.  I wanted to cry.  I felt like something was wrong with me.  What was I doing wrong?

Then August came around.  I was late, so impatiently, I took a test right away that came back negative.  I waited, with heart ache, for Aunt Flow to make her visit.  But she never showed.  I took another test.  Negative.  So I assumed it was just stress and tried moving on.  But still, she never showed.  I took about 4 tests, and three of them came back negative.  The last one:  positive.  I was so shocked.  I figured it couldn't be right.  Someone told me pregnancy tests don't show a false positive, so I spent the night in disbelief.  The next day, Aunt Flow arrived.

I didn't have any time to bond with that experience.  I hadn't told anyone except Travis.  We chose not to say anything because, well... we didn't bond with that pregnancy at all.  It was like a fluke.  So instead of reaping sorrow or pity from anyone else, we kept it a secret.  No sense in saying, "Hey, we got a positive but it's a no go now!"  About a week later, we went on a family vacation.  It was definitely a great opportunity for Travis and I to just recoup and be with each other.

So we kept trying.  I thought there was something seriously wrong with me.  I knew that after a year of trying to no avail, I could be declared infertile.  That idea scared me.  I wondered if Travis would love me the same (which is ridiculous, but I know how much he wants to have kids and he would never leave me).  I wondered what that would mean for my future - my goals, my plans.  I couldn't help but fear that every month, I was getting closer to that dreaded one year mark.  I started losing hope.

This past November - December, I was getting sick.  Is this morning sickness?? I was sick for a few weeks, and I definitely couldn't enjoy family dinners around the holidays.  Everything made me nauseous.  On December 9th,  I took a test.  I was by myself, and didn't tell Travis because I didn't want to get his hopes up in case it was another negative.  But to my surprise, the two pink lines showed up instantly!  Without a doubt, I was pregnant.  I was so excited, I completely spaced it when coming up with a cute way to tell Travis.  I just grabbed him and showed him.  We were so excited and happy.  I couldn't believe it.  But again, I guarded my heart.  I didn't want to tell anyone right away.  I was afraid it wouldn't last.

I went into my doctor's office for a check up and to verify everything.  I was definitely pregnant and my due date was set for August 13th.  So, ready as I was, Travis and I decided to tell our parents at Christmas.  I came up with cute Christmas presents, including a small baby toy, a bib, and a picture frame.  I even included a cute little poem.  First, we told my parents since their Christmas was first.  My mom and dad were very excited for us and congratulated us.  My sister was super happy for me, because she knew how badly I wanted this.

On Christmas Eve, we told Travis's dad.  His aunts were there too, so they witnessed his gift.  He was happy and said, "I was wondering when I was going to have grandkids!"  He was excited to have his first grandbaby.  All of Travis's aunts were congratulatory and said, "We're lucky!  We got to see the best gift this Christmas!"  

Christmas Day, Travis and I had spent the night with his mother, step dad, and all of his siblings.  We waited for his mom and step dad to open their gift last.  When we gave them their gifts, they were quiet for a second... then his mom gasped and started crying.  She asked, "Are you serious?!?!"  She was absolutely thrilled.  Mike, Travis's step dad, couldn't stop smiling.  He cracked a few jokes about how the bib was for him, and congratulated us and told us he couldn't wait to spoil the grandbaby.  

Everyone was happy.  Everyone knew how much we wanted this.  And I knew how our families have waited for this.  I was proud.  But I still kept my heart guarded.  Now the family knew.  If something bad came out of this, at least I wouldn't be alone.  But now I had everyone else's heart riding on this baby too.  I didn't want to break their hearts if things didn't go according to plan.  So, instead of bonding with the baby and pregnancy, I tried to keep myself detached so as not to be such a mess if I did miscarry.  I figured if I could be strong through a loss, if in case it did happen, then everyone else wouldn't be as heartbroken as they were the first time.

I found a great doctor that specializes in high risk pregnancies from a few friends.  When I was 9 weeks pregnant, Travis and I went in for my first appointment with him.  All of his first appointments start with an ultrasound prior to the visit.  Travis and I let our guard down.  We were so excited to see the baby and hear a heartbeat.  Eagerly, I jumped up on the table, informed the ultrasound tech of my birth defects (in my first pregnancy, my intestines kept getting in the way of seeing the baby.  I also have a heart shaped uterus.).  The ultrasound tech just smiled and said, "Ok, we'll just take a look and if we can't see anything, we'll do it vaginally."  Ugh.... ok.

Luckily, we found the baby within seconds.  She was measuring the baby and telling us everything on the screen.  Then she said, "it looks a little small."  My guard quickly went up.  I think I might have stopped breathing.  Then she said, "I can't see a heart beat."  She turned on the sound.....



I felt my heart drop.  I felt a tear fall from my eyes.  The tech went to get the doctor to view the images.  I just wiped my face, and Travis said, "It'll be ok.  Everything is alright."  Sharply, I responded, "Travis, there's no heart beat.  This isn't good."  He stayed quiet the rest of the time.

The doctor came into the room and looked at the screen.  He said the baby had stopped growing 6 days before.  He verified there was no heart beat.  The doctor went on talking about a hemorrhage and pointing to it on the screen.  I think I must have been in disbelief or shock.  I wasn't really sure if I was connecting the dots.  I knew he was a great doctor, so I might have had a little bit of hope left that some miracle could be done.  I asked him, "What does that mean?"  He responded, "it's not viable.  I'm sorry."  

I just gritted my teeth and tried holding back my tears, which didn't work.  I'm pretty sure the doctor said something more, but I wasn't listening.  I kept thinking, What the hell have I done to deserve this?  The tech said to meet the doctor in his office next door whenever we were ready.  She and the doctor left the room.  It was just Travis and I alone in this dark room... with the image of our baby on the screen.  I'll never forget looking at that screen one last time.  It's like time stopped.  Travis had come up to me, held my hand and hugged me.  He said something, but I was so entranced by that screen.  That little baby jellybean on the screen... It was alive. Now it's gone.

I took a deep breath, grabbed a tissue, wiped my face, and jumped down to grab my things.  Poor Travis, I don't think I looked at him or said anything to him.  I was so caught up in the moment, I neglected my husband.  I neglected his feelings too.  I knew he was hurt.  But it just didn't register for me.  We walked into the doctor's office next door.  His office was incredibly busy that day, so for him to take the time to sit down and wait for us... that says a lot about him and how genuine of a doctor he is.  That thought came into my mind as he started talking.  

The doctor discussed what he had seen in the ultrasound and gave me two options.  He said we could let it go naturally or we could do a D&C.  However, he said with my hemorrhaging, he highly recommended a D&C because going through the miscarriage naturally could cause for an emergency situation and put me in the ER.  I agreed to do the D&C.  He didn't want me to hemorrhage and drop the pregnancy before the D&C, so he scheduled our appointment for 5:30 AM the following day.  I was given orders to stay in bed and rest, and not to drink or eat anything after 11 PM.  He continued to talk to us about my previous miscarriages, and when I told him I have hemorrhaged before with my first pregnancy, he asked if he could run some tests to find out what is causing these miscarriages.  He did tell me that with my heart shaped uterus, I've probably had more early miscarriages that I didn't know about - which made me think of all the times I was late with a negative pregnancy test...  However, he did not feel that the shape of my uterus is causing my later miscarriages.  

I was pretty speechless.  I was afraid to talk.  I was afraid the moment I said anything, I'd start bawling.  Travis spoke up for me - which I'm very thankful for.  He told the doctor that many women in my family have multiple miscarriages or infertility.  The doctor said he has many patients that do, so not to worry.  "Let's just find some answers and go from there."

Travis and I had drove separately because he had to leave for work immediately after our appointment.  I sat in my car for a few minutes in silence.  I wanted to pray, but I didn't know what to pray for.  I wanted to cry now, but I held so much in, I just couldn't cry.  I called my work because I had told my boss I would be back in later that evening to finish up some things.  A very nice coworker, who was very excited to see ultrasound pictures, answered the phone.  She didn't pry... she could tell I didn't have good news when I told her I wouldn't be back in for a few days.  I told her we had lost the baby, and I didn't know when I would return to work.  She forwarded the message to my boss, who was very understanding.

That night, I made the dreadful phone calls to our parents.  "We lost the baby."  "I'm ok."  I told them everything the doctor said.  It was very well scripted.  I didn't want to cry.  I didn't want our family to worry.

Sometimes, I think guys show it in the weirdest of ways - but I think guys go through a mental mind fuck when they experience a miscarriage.  Their friends don't really understand.  Travis tried to be supportive as I went through my hormonal ups and downs.  He sat beside me throughout the procedure (when he could) and never left my side.  He saw how much pain I was in, and there was nothing he could do for me.  Travis tried to pick up the weight for two in this house - because I was so sick and in so much pain for a week after the D&C.  I did not recoup from the D&C well at all.  The pain was so intense, it would knock me to the ground.  I was on so much medication that when the pain meds wore off, I knew exactly when it did.  I tried to keep up with eating but the nausea and the constant pain made me not want to eat.  When I refused to eat before taking my next dosage, I regretted not eating.  Poor Travis, he had to watch it.  He didn't have time to grieve or heal his own heart.  He had to take care of me and everything else.  And all the while, many of his friends were not sympathetic.  They just didn't get it.

I look at him now and wonder how he kept himself together.  He got angry a few times - not at me - but at his friends who refused to see the big picture.  They were busy telling him he was whipped or a "puss" for not standing up to me.  They were busy telling him that he answers to my every beck and call... mind you... he just lost his baby, and he's watching his wife suffer with emotional breakdowns and physical pain.  What was he supposed to do?  And all the while, I was so focused on me and my pain, I wasn't there for him when he needed me.  My husband, who would do anything for me, didn't have anyone there for him and he didn't have a chance to grieve his loss.  I feel so guilty for this.  I've heard him say that it could be him... it could be his fault we can't have babies.  I know he's hurting and he's confused.  And now that I'm feeling better, I'm sorry that I wasn't there for him.  And I'm sorry no one took the time to be there for him in my absence.  

I don't know what I'm to take from this miscarriage.  I know I've questioned my faith all year.  But maybe just now isn't the time for Travis and I to have children.  We are not going to try again for a while.  I don't know when we'll be ready to try again.  All I know is that this year, we've promised to dedicate it to ourselves - to our marriage and our friendship.  I've promised to be more outgoing and spontaneous with his adventures.  I've promised to be a little bit more independent.  He's promised to be more of a home body.  He's promised to do more things with just the two of us - no other friends included.  Maybe that's just what we need....

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