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Love and (Pregnancy) Loss

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Yesterday, it rained and stormed. The sound of the water droplets splattering into the puddles they created and the winds whirring filled our home, as the flickering lights threatened to turn off. Some think rain is depressing. I find it exciting, inspirational. Perfect writing weather. A time for reflection.

IMG_2282I suppose that’s one way I know I’m an optimist. If I’m feeling sad and having a hard day, and the weather is really nice, I say, oh good, I’ll go outside and feel healed by the nice breezes and sunshine. And if it is grey and wet and stormy, I think, oh good, the weather feels like I do, and feel a sense of solidarity with the storm clouds.

The reason yesterday was hard is it was the due date of the baby I lost over the summer. It was hardest when it first happened, and I dreaded this time of year, knowing it might be hard too. On Thursday, I felt sad, but then had such a good day on Friday, and felt really good about everything, that the sadness that suddenly stormed within me yesterday kind of side-swiped me.

I talked to some friends, got a hug from my husband, and read some accounts of miscarriage and loss online, and I felt better. It’s awful that others have been through it, but the main message I take from reading about others who’ve experienced this is: I am not alone. And, it’s okay. It’s okay to hurt, and it’s okay to be okay, and it’s okay to go back and forth, too. Others have traversed this road many times, and many more will. It’s not easy. But it is what it is.

So, to any of you reading this who’ve experienced a loss, please know: I hear you. You are not alone.

I found out on a Friday, at 12 weeks, that I’d lost the baby. At first I was even told it had never been a baby, just a morphed cluster of cells that never formed a baby properly. A molar pregnancy. That information carried with it worries of potential re-growth of cells and potential chemotherapy if that occurred. One week later, at 13 weeks I had a D&C. I’d spent a week pregnant-but-not, and it broke my heart. That morning, I nervously waited in the hospital, feeling awful, bleeding, talking to my sweet mom who sat next to my hospital bed at 6am, while my awesome husband stayed with our son at home (we didn’t want to have to wake the toddler! I’m glad they could sleep at home, and pick me up from the hospital later). I received an IV, and a mask on my face, and woke up what felt like two seconds later, being told it was all over, and the tears ran down my face. That was July. The next couple months were not easy. I’ve always had anxiety issues, and they became far worse, and I decided to try anxiety medication for the first time in my life, which has been a wonderful and amazing decision for myself.

A couple weeks after the D&C, I found out I had not had a molar pregnancy, but a regular “missed miscarriage.” No reason for blood checks or chemotherapy worries, which was good news. But it was still another blow to realize I had had a baby growing, that just didn’t.

Me, Homer, and our doula, Tammy
Me, Homer, and our doula, Tammy
When my doula from California just so happened to be taking a trip to Washington a few weeks later, she stopped in to see me, and I told her of my loss. And she completely empathized and told me she was sorry. Then she did something no one else had done… She asked me about the beginning of my pregnancy, about how I’d found out I was pregnant. It was fun remembering the good.

The good and the bad, the sweet, and the tragic, will always be a mixed memory of this crazy time of my life.

I’ll always remember…

– seeing a doctor who ordered a “rush ultrasound” at the nearby hospital for the following hour, and I took the “rush” part a little too literally and backed into a pole, breaking the bumper off the back of my car

– the ultrasound technician warning me before she turned up the volume, “You’re going to hear your own heartbeat now, okay?” and hearing not just my own heartbeat, but the astoundingly loud absence of the super-fast wooshwooshwoosh of a baby heartbeat, and knowing it was all over

– having to wait next to the phone for the doctor to call me in the exam room to tell me the news the ultrasound tech could not. There were exactly ten shelving holes between each perfectly spaced shelf. Counting calms me.

But I will also always remember…

– realizing how excited I felt about having two children

– attending the Summer Solstice festival while pregnant

One of the last happy pregnancy pics with this baby
One of the last happy pregnancy pics with this baby

– attending a drum circle while pregnant and feeling happy the baby was experiencing the rhythms

– falling asleep with my hubby by my side, my cat against my back, my toddler in one arm, and one hand on my belly, a smile on my face

– that first day, the day I knew… Homer’s breath had made me gag when I kissed him that morning, then Joe’s breath had done the same, even though they both have lovely breath. And at Trader Joe’s, Homer pointed to the tomatoes excitedly, and the sight of them made me gag. Those things told me what those two pink lines confirmed that evening, and I was nervous, but so, so excited, too, as Joe and I laughed about the craziness of the timing (we had JUST moved into our apartment and he had only had one day at the new job).

I miss you, little baby. I wish we’d had forever together, but glad I knew you for our one trimester.

To all the mamas who come across this page who’ve felt what I’ve felt… I’m sorry. It’s hard. But you’ll get through it. Time helps. The heart will heal. Grief doesn’t travel in a straight line, as one mama friend told me. Some days are good and some are bad, and the bad days can pop up out of nowhere, but those, too, will pass. And these little beings that left too soon will always be part of our story, our lives, our hearts. Best wishes to you, mamas who’ve been there…

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For further reading, here’s a link I like:
The Amethyst Network – Supporting Families Through Miscarriage

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7 thoughts on “Love and (Pregnancy) Loss”

  1. Meg, thank you for sharing this. It is beautifully expressed and generously shared. My memory is the excitement and joy we shared when you first discovered you were pregnant. It was so tough to keep that secret! 🙂

    For me, the date is October 16th. Now that many years have passed it’s not so hard, but I never DON’T remember that date. Mine was my first pregnancy and as we all know, I went on to have three gorgeous and succulent children (and another miscarriage in which one daughter was twins, but I lost one embryo early on). My first pregnancy ended much like yours, at 16 weeks. It was a person. I feel that it was the boy I never had, at least not to term. But I did have him with me for a short time, as you did your precious little one.

    We can never know why these experiences turned out the way they did, but one thing I can see from my vantage point is that your little one brought you to a new level of motherhood. Yes, a sad and painful one but also quite beautiful in its own way. How fragile life is, and how miraculous that we as women get to experience creation, firsthand.

    Life and death deal with the same portal, one as any entry point and one as a return. Which is which is up for debate. We all know that those liminal places are where magic exists. You’ve seen that embodied in your glorious Homer who even at three still sparkles with the magic of passing over that threshold. Now, this little one, gone too soon, has brought you a special kind of blessing and magic as well. You are a glorious woman and friend. AND MOTHER. Heal well, dearest.

    1. Thank you for all your kind words, lovely Kaila! I’m sorry you have been through it, too, but the benefit of going through it is supporting other women who also go through it. So thanks, as always, for your lovely support. 🙂 And yes, I loved sharing the exciting news with you, that was one of the really fun moments, for sure, that late night conversation. ❤ Love you, Kaila!

  2. Thank you for sharing this with us Meg. It brought me to tears to read about your loss. Your beautiful optimism made me smile. I love you dear friend.

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