It’s Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month again. Some of you might be thinking, “Why is she still going on about this? Isn’t it time to move on?” I don’t know what the protocol is for moving on after a couple of 2nd trimester miscarriages, but I can assure you, I have spent the last year and a half since my last one NOT moving on.
My pregnancies are really hard. I understand that all pregnancies have their challenges and I in no way want to trivialize any other woman’s pregnancy experience. I just want to share the reality of mine. I vomit…a lot. Without Zofran I will vomit after any food or beverage consumption. A 1/4th cup of water? 30 minutes later I will be vomiting up that tiny bit of water along with every other drop of acid and bile in my stomach. With Scarlett, when my “morning” sickness started, I lost 7 pounds in two days, I was so dehydrated I could barely swallow. You haven’t lived until you eat an almond (because you read eating a few of those frequently will help stave off morning sickness) and then proceed a short while later to vomit up tiny masticated piece by tiny masticated piece which while traveling UP your throat scrapes all that tissue landing all over your tongue and sticking everywhere because you have no moisture in there to spit it out. Then, that feeling only initiates your gag reflex more. Even on Zofran, I still vomit a few times every morning and a few times every night until the third trimester. When I come home from the hospital, I have two pairs of pants from my early twenties that I wear. I call them my post baby jeans. They’re 3 sizes smaller than my normal jeans. That’s how much weight I lose being pregnant. I also sleep…a lot. I think maybe all of the vomiting just weakens me. I don’t know. I will sleep for hours and hours all day and night. Or maybe my brain just shuts down because it can’t deal with the constant feeling of nausea.
It is because of these really hard pregnancies that for me to lose my babies in the 2nd trimester is even more emotionally gut wrenching and painful. I, literally, put my life on hold to be pregnant. I can’t eat or stay awake or have any energy for my children. I have no energy to laugh with them or reprimand them or encourage them or redirect them. It is truly a huge sacrifice from me and my family for me to go through a pregnancy. I could talk until I’m blue in the face and I don’t think some people would understand just how tapped out I get. This last pregnancy, I went in at 17.5 weeks for a routine exam, found out there was no heartbeat, and immediately went to the hospital to be induced. It took 24 hours for the baby and the placenta to come out. Then, they kept me in for another full day to make sure that I didn’t get an infection. The next day I woke up and I could feel the difference in my body. I was devastated and cried nonstop, but I no longer felt sick and I no longer felt tired. It was like not being pregnant anymore flipped a switch in my body. I reach a point in every pregnancy where reality starts to warp and my hazed sick brain can’t make sense of things anymore. I start to tell myself, “You’re lazy. If you loved your family, you would get up and clean the house, make dinner, play with your kids. You’re not tired because you’re throwing up and pregnant, you’re tired because you’re a bad mom and wife.” It was a gift in a time of utter darkness to feel that physical transformation and know that it was not those things and it was in fact the toll pregnancy takes on my body.
I miscarried my first baby at 15.5 weeks in June of 2014. The Dr told me to wait 3 months more, we did and got pregnant on the first try. We eventually found out it was a girl and I miscarried this baby at 17.5 weeks in February of 2015. That’s the short, unemotional version, at least. This was it’s own set of events, but it started a whole new set of events in my life. After this, I grieved, I cried until my eyes were puffy all day for weeks. Then, I started focusing on what went wrong and how can I “fix” it. That led to a LOT of brick walls, blood tests, genetic tests, and guessing. Slowly, I started sleeping more. I stopped enjoying spending time with my friends. I stopped wanting to spend time with my children and my husband. Wes coming home was a relief, because then I could go do what I had really been wanting to do all day, which was go sleep in my room and FINALLY be left alone. It is extremely embarrassing and shameful sharing that with anyone other than Wes. I went in November of 2015 for my gynecological visit that she asked me to do. She asked what my plans were with more babies and birth control etc. I was shaking and my teeth rattling as I tried to answer her. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I wanted more children, desperately, and I felt like I was a ticking biological clock time bomb. I was also completely terrified to try again. I was already so emotionally unstable, I couldn’t imagine what a pregnancy would do me. I was already trying to escape my life. She encouraged me to go on antidepressants, but I resisted. I went a couple of weeks later to a follow up appointment with my infertility doctor. He also asked about my plans. It was the entire reason for the visit. I, immediately, began the shivering and chattering teeth. I started crying because I was so scared and overwhelmed. He convinced me to try anti depressants. I relented this time. They helped, a lot. After about 6 weeks on them, I was getting up in the morning and biking Scarlett to school again, cleaning house, enjoying spending time with friends, and most importantly enjoying my family again. My pills ran out in August of this year and I didn’t want to go back and see my infertility doctor like he wanted me to, in order to do a follow up on how the meds were going and how I was feeling. So, I stopped taking them. Cold Turkey. I didn’t think it would be a big deal—it was. Headaches, muscle aches, tiredness. A lot of the depression has come back again since going off them.
I was watching Dan in Real Life this week. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time. I love it. I love that family. I have always wanted a big family since I was a little girl. Giving up on that dream is heart breaking and devastating. I cried the whole way through it. This isn’t a pretty story. There’s no happy, wrapped up ending. I struggle with the emotional, mental, and physical fallout of losing those two babies every day. It has altered my personality and perspective forever, I’d guess. I share this with all of you so you can get a glimpse into the mind of someone struggling with pregnancy loss and know how long reaching those effects are. I am so grateful to Wes. I, honestly, don’t know how he has put up with me some of these months…yes months of an absentee wife. He is the best man I know. If I had searched the world over, I could not have found the more perfect man. My friends have also helped. They’ve come over and spent time with me or invited me to their house or went to lunch or breakfast with me even when I know I was absolutely no fun. I was sitting on their couch glassy eyed and detached, yet they kept inviting and kept loving me. I share this so you know a way to help. For me, it was needing people to just be there. To know that me and my pain was noticed and mattered to someone else. That was the best gift given to me during this time. I also share this for everyone else who has experienced a miscarriage. I hope you find some solace in knowing you are not alone in your pain. I had many friends send me private messages and letters telling me of their own miscarriages after mine. Those notes helped me a lot. They helped me to feel less alone and less guilty.
I love you all! I am a truly lucky and blessed person for the people in my life. I will keep up the good fight. I’ll keep trying to focus on joy, hope, love, and faith.