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Sunday, November 8, 2015

a miscarriage story : it's been a month

It's been one month since I went to the doctor's office excited to see the little blob of a beating heart inside my belly, and instead left realizing I was having a miscarriage. It's been four weeks of a lot of pain, heartache, disappointment, anger, questioning, and so much sadness.

I've cried in the last four weeks more than I've ever cried, I think. A type of crying that comes from some deep part inside me that I've never really cried from before. A sadness that hits like a thunder storm - fierce, powerful, and frightening, and then gone in as much time as it took to get started.

I've gone through every emotion you can think of. I've talked and then kept silent. I've laughed and moved on in some senses, and in others I'm dwelling in those "what if?" questions. I've felt weaker than ever before, and then stronger than I could have imagined. I've been angry with God, and then thanked Him for keeping me afloat, grateful to not go through this alone, knowing He did not cause me any pain to begin with.

It's a roller coaster of emotions, that's for sure. To lose something you barely had to begin with, yet that you know for sure was yours... there are not words to really describe such a loss. We aren't supposed to lose our babies. It's just not supposed to happen. So when we do, when something in our bodies doesn't work "right," it's hard to accept. 

And yet we do. We do accept it somehow. We start to piece ourselves back together, move forward, move on even slightly. We begin realizing that there are reasons for everything, even these things we cannot possibly comprehend in our heartbroken minds. We start smiling again. We start to see the sunshine. We sing again in the car. I can belt out Adele's "Hello" with the best of them, and really feel like I'm "normal" again now. It's taken a while, but I got here. To this other side. This place where I can laugh again and feel like I'm not some impostor in my own body.

It was about 3 weeks after my miscarriage started that I found laughter and life again in small pieces. I didn't stay inside those first three weeks. I didn't cry all day long. I went back to work. I returned to making lunch and packing snacks and doing bath time with the kids. I played outside and made dinner in those few weeks, but it was in a numb, "I just have to keep going because I'm already a busy Mother" type of way.

Three weeks in though, as soon as I started feeling physically better, the bleeding had stopped, the doctors appointments subsided, I started to feel the hormones decrease and the tears stopped falling as frequently. I went four days without crying, then a landslide of tears would come. Then I made it 3 days without crying and boom, something would make me fall apart again.

Currently, four weeks into this mess, and I've cried twice this week. Once was a random breakdown type of crying. That's pretty good. Things are improving. Life is continuing.

At 3 weeks I walked slowly through a corn maze. I spent the morning outside in the fresh air. I was solo mom on duty again. I laughed hysterically, like the kind of laughter that makes you need to catch your breath, where you're about to cry or throw up, you aren't sure, but you know it's awesome no matter what happens because this laughter makes you feel so alive.

My kids. They are what got me through this. The smiles on their faces, reminding me every second of every single day how LUCKY I am. Having a miscarriage didn't make me lucky, I'm not grateful for that experience. However, it has made me realize that I'm a lucky woman. I cannot imagine having a miscarriage in my first pregnancy. For those women who go through that heartache, I will forever be sending you vibes of awe and strength.

I started seeing what I had instead of what I'd lost. I focused on how happy I could be with these two beautiful children, these healthy babies that I did carry in me once, when my body did truly work ok. I have them to remind me every second that they need me - to hug, to tell them I love them, to make dinner, to tuck them in at night.

I started seeing beauty in the world. I'd pick up clear white rocks on the beach, or find bright orange leaves that had just fallen in my walking path. I collected them. I have a few keepsake items from nature that for some reason I feel compelled to keep. Like some sort of scrapbook without pages, memories of this difficult time, but rather focused on the hope of it all.

I let myself laugh again. Like really laugh at how silly life can be. Miscarriages are nothing to laugh about. But coming out of that darkness is an amazing feeling, one you aren't sure you'll feel. It takes people various ways and durations of time to get through to that other side of brightness, but once you're there, it's a beautiful feeling to know you're alive and you're ok. You made it through. I made it through.

At 3 1/2 weeks later I took a walk through Target. I didn't plan on it, but we needed some things for Halloween. I had to rush to get my kids picked up from school, so I was speed walking through Target. I realized after I got to my car, winded, out of breath, achy legs, that it was the first exercise I'd done since I had run that morning before my last ultrasound. I felt OK though. I felt like I was ready to start exercising again.

After Googling how soon I could work out post a miscarriage, and having a dear Facebook stranger friend tell me that it takes most traumatic situations to heal after six weeks, and others saying that if I felt ok I could start walking but take it slow, I walked on the treadmill. I felt amazing. I took it slowly but mentally this was what I needed. To feel strong again.

This past week I ran 5 minutes and then walked 20 and ran 5 again. Then a few days later I ran 10 minutes straight, walked 20 minutes. This morning I ran most of my old run. I walked a little bit but ran most.

I'm getting stronger. I'm already strong. It's good to be reminded of that sometimes as mothers, especially after going through something that made you feel so physically weak inside.

I started seeking out quotes, inspiration, images online. Things to make me feel hopeful again, like I was moving forward, like all would be ok in my confusing world.

On the day that it marked exactly a month since the miscarriage started, I wondered if it'd be hard for me. I didn't know what to expect. Instead, what I found was it was filled with hope. I drove to work that morning blinded by the sun. Everywhere I turned, no matter which direction I went in, the bright yellow sun was directly in my face. I could not avoid it. I took it as a sign, everything would be ok, hope.

When I got to work, I got out of my car and turned to take a picture of the sun. I wanted to remember this moment. Straight ahead I saw three seagulls flying in formation together. I believe in signs. I took this as a sign that someday... that third one may come. Just have hope.

This picture above was taken of me on five days into the miscarriage. I was tired, weak, pale. We hadn't left the house in five days. I could barely walk around this small pumpkin farm store. I had to hold onto the wagon next to me as I knelt down to take a picture with my daughter. I see this picture and think that I look sad, and yet I look like a mother, holding onto my precious baby girl, realizing what I have, sad for what I lost but also seeing all the beauty in the world. I think this picture shows that I'm strong, even when I don't feel it.

Four weeks later, I'm sad, I cry randomly, but I'm starting to feel strong again. I'm starting to let this experience slide a little bit. Not ignore it, not pretend it's fine, not ever forget. I haven't moved on. I'm not sure that you do move on from a miscarriage. I still touch my necklace over and over every day, feeling my kids' initials on the charms, holding onto the anchor and the cross that represent what I've lost and the strength inside me to get through this experience. I still talk about random thoughts to my husband, who I swear is a rock and totally unfazed by my hormonal mess. I'm so lucky to have him.

I'm grateful for so many friends, family, gifts, cards, texts, and thoughts from strangers. I don't know what I'd have done to deal with this if not for supportive people surrounding me. I'm a lucky girl in so many ways.

It's been one month. A few people messaged me this week. I don't think they know it's been a month. That milestone isn't on anyone's mind except mine, and I'm OK with that. That part doesn't even make me sad. I realize I'm getting stronger, more able to handle this.

Yesterday a woman asked how my children are. Not knowing, she laughed and said, "Now it's time for a third one!" I instantly responded with a smile, "Yes, definitely. So many people tell us that. Definitely someday. Someday." I didn't feel sad. I felt hopeful.

For now, I'm focusing on helping other moms open up about their miscarriages, to feel less alone. I'm hugging my babies tighter, appreciating my husband more, and realizing what I have in my life to be grateful for. I'm staying positive, trying to stay facing the sun. I'm trying. Every moment I'm trying to feel better. I'm working hard at becoming stronger and stronger. Until I reach a point, someday way far down the road, where I realize that there was purpose to all of this. That everything is all right.

Breathe in, breathe out by Mat Kearney

Breathe in, breathe out, 
Tell me all of your doubts,
& Everybody bleeds this way,
Just the same.

Breathe in, breathe out,
Move on and break down,
If everyone goes away I will stay.

We push and pull, 
& I fall down sometimes,
I'm not letting go, 
You hold the other line.

Cause there is a light in your eyes, in your eyes.

Hold on hold tight,
From out of your sight,
If everything keeps moving on, moving on,
Hold on hold tight,
Make it through another night,
& everyday there comes a song with the dawn,
We push and pull and I fall down sometimes,
I'm not letting go,
You hold the other line.

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