I was due on May 27th.
I have C-sections, so in my mind I could have delivered on my grandfather's birthday on May 22nd. It had a nice ring to it, I thought. May is a good month for a baby, I imagined.
That was before the mishap.
It's kind of weird to decipher that word, miscarriage.
Like something was missed somehow and carried away.
Away to where? I'm not quite sure. But away. Gone.
I was due this week. I was supposed to have a baby. Bring someone home to raise this week. Introduce a new sibling to my two children this week.
I should be on maternity leave.
I should have swollen feet and hormones raging.
I should have a baby nursery set up, decorated, with receiving blankets and newborn diapers prepared.
I should have a diaper bag packed. There should be another car seat in my car right now.
I should be showered with love this week. People should be congratulating me and my husband on the birth of our beautiful child.
And yet I've realized since my miscarriage last fall that there are no "shouldas" in life. It doesn't work that way. And there was a time, a dark time, a dreary and sad tears-falling-nonstop time when that devastated me. I wanted the shouldas. I wanted to believe that I could control things, that things could go as planned in my mind. I did not want to believe that we could go way off track. It's too hard to imagine that things could change without our wanting them to. It's too hard to live that way, so we believe that all is OK in the world, all will be as we imagine it to be.
I have wondered how I would feel this week. The Due Date Week. Back in the fall whenever people asked how I was doing, after a few months I started saying, "I'm healing, getting through it, feeling better than I did. I think May will be really hard, but right now I'm OK." Now that May is here, I feel OK. I never expected I could feel OK after the miscarriage.
I know a lot of that has to do with me being blessed with another pregnancy. It also has a lot to do with the fact that back in the fall I didn't lose a baby. Our egg and sperm came together but nothing formed, no baby, no heartbeat. So I don't imagine that this week is someone's birthday. I don't see an angel in heaven. I 100% understand others feeling that way and I would, too, absolutely if I lost a baby. No baby was created for me last fall, except the one in my heart and mind, which was immensely painful to lose on its own.
"Feeling like a hero but I can't fly.
No you'll never crash if you don't try.
Took it to the edge, now I know why.
Never gonna live if you're too scared to die..."
-Goo Goo Dolls
Being pregnant now has made the world of difference in my healing. Today we saw our little one kicking away and actually waving on the ultrasound screen. We saw the heartbeat. I later heard it in the doctor's office, loud, clear, beating fast. Alive and well. All was good in my world.
It took me months to forget that the same ultrasound screen showed me an empty black hole months ago. Today, I didn't think about it. I focused on my little one waving back at me, as if to say, "Brush those fears away, Mom. I'm OK today." It has not been easy to reach this place. Pregnancy after miscarriage is a very challenging thing. So many doubts and fears and what ifs. I get them daily it seems. And yet I'm realizing that all those shouldas and couldas and questions are worth nothing. We have to focus on today, right now. It's all we have.
"Blinded by the light of a new sun...
Breaking down the walls in my own mind
Keeping my faith for the bad times
Get up get up
Stand like a champion
Take it to the world, gonna sing it like an anthem.
Hey hey, I'm so alive, I'm so alive...
You can make it on a wish if you want to..."
-Goo Goo Dolls
I have planned for months that my husband and I would take the day off on our due date. We said it back when the miscarriage was happening. He stayed home with me for days when I was in agonizing pain. He held me, wiped my tears, watched movies, and fixed me meals. I told him the only good thing that came out of my miscarriage was that we got time to be together and I felt closer to him then. We vowed we'd do this once a year, not necessarily on the due date, but that we'd just take a whole day to be together and sleep in and watch movies, eat food and talk. So I've had that date totally open on my calendar for months. I avoided booking meetings or work related activities. Well then this winter kicked my butt with sicknesses and I've taken too many days off from work so I'm heading in to work on the 27th instead.
But I've treated myself to a pedicure this week and a walk by the ocean. I'm talking to my husband about how this feels, reaching the due date. I'm writing and reflecting. Because we can't keep these things in entirely. We may be the only ones who remember, who know, who acknowledge these painful moments or milestones, but that doesn't make them less important.
On Friday I am hoping to hang out with friends and have my favorite food. I am planning to wear the necklace my friend gave me when I had the miscarriage. I might look through the cards and the dried fall yellow and orange leaves that I kept when I'd been searching for something beautiful during a dark time. I may re-read my blog posts from that tough time last fall just to remember. I may cry. I may choose to laugh instead. I'll tell my kids I love them more on this day. I'll hold my husband's hand and appreciate him even more on this day after all we survived together. I will definitely be grateful for what I have while reflecting on what could have been.
I will remember the pain and hurt, if only to acknowledge the strength and courage, perseverance and determination that I felt in the aftermath. I am stronger for having gone through that experience.
I'm a lucky one. I know this to be true. I have a rainbow baby growing in my belly on the same week that I was supposed to be delivering another one. I can easily see that I'm a lucky person. If I'd not had that miscarriage, I'd not have this growing baby inside me now. It's an incredible thing to think about. I'm blessed. The phrase that "things happen for a reason" is one that many women despise hearing after a miscarriage. For me, it's brought me comfort all along, and I finally understand it fully.
I plan on Friday to light a candle to think of all the women who have gone through a miscarriage, who have lost babies with heartbeats or even those who, like me, lost big hopes and dreams.
I plan to say a prayer for those going through this now. Those who are still in the dark place of a miscarriage's aftermath, where they have no hope, aren't ready to move past their grief, and who do not know yet that things will get better, that someday they will have their rainbow after the rain. I will pray for them the most. I was one of those women once. I wasn't sure I'd ever move past that difficult time. And here I am returning from an ultrasound where I smiled and was excited because a baby is growing inside a place inside me where I thought nothing could grow anymore.
"I'm so alive, I'm so alive, I'm so alive.
You can make it on a wish if you want to...
I am no (wo)man of steel,
I have no heart of stone.
Don't tell me how it feels,
I'll find it on my own.
Hey, hey, hey...
Never gonna live if you're too scared to die.
I'm so alive, I'm so alive, I'm so alive...
You can make it on a wish if you want to..."
-Goo Goo Dolls
To those who have reached out and sent me cards, notes, and messages since my miscarriage... to those who have listened to my fears and worries during this pregnancy after miscarriage... thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I am grateful.
I am stronger not on my own, but because of the love and support I have received from so many who went through this before I did, who reached out and told me, "It's OK how you feel, you're going to be OK, you will get through this, things will get better." I wasn't sure if I could believe them back then.
Now, during the Due Date Week, I realize they were right. I am OK. I am better. Hope exists.
Hugs, to the strong moms out there.