It's been the hardest year of my life (#understatement) even though the pelvic pain has gotten miraculously better with the help of my new medicine. It sort of feels like God gave me a reprieve from the chronic physical pain so I would have the energy and strength to tackle the emotional upheaval to come. And tackle it I did, haha.
I really want to get on with blogging about the here and now and sharing what's happening in my life with you all, but it feels inauthentic because I really feel like before I do, I need to share the most vulnerable and painful experience of this last year. It's changed me, and it's important to me that I don't pretend that it didn't.
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We only knew I was pregnant for a couple of days before I went and had a blood test done to make sure everything was alright. As I'm sure you can guess, everything was not alright. My numbers were incredibly low--too low to really hope that this would be a viable pregnancy. But we just watched and waited for almost 10 days because they were slowly rising. Dave and I were on the biggest emotional roller coaster we'd ever been on (which is saying something after the last couple of years we've had) alternating between feeble hope that everything might be okay, and suffocating fear that I might be miscarrying. Once the numbers seemed to plateau (still in a nonviable range), my doctor did an incredibly painful ultrasound to make sure it wasn't ectopic and finally ordered a D&C. This all happened within the span of about two weeks, but felt like a lifetime for us.
After the D&C, it was impossible to ignore the intense feeling of loss and I didn't know what to do. I wasn't that far along because I'd found out pretty early that I was pregnant, so I felt dumb feeling the grief so intensely. Was this even considered a baby this early? My best friend had just had a miscarriage a few weeks earlier and she'd been MUCH further along and I didn't want to add to her pain, so I didn't tell her. I've hated myself ever since for not telling more people. I needed support, but there was a strong feeling of, "It wasn't that big of a deal, you were only so many weeks along, and you don't want to make it uncomfortable for everyone around you."
So I pulled back. I told my family, one of my professors, one other friend and then I shut off my emotions so I wouldn't burst into random tears throughout the day. I completely lost all motivation to go to class, to be present when I actually made it to class, to be present with my clients, to emotionally engage in their pain, to attend choir rehearsals which I usually LOVE, etc. It wasn't until about 2 weeks after the procedure that I fully let myself grieve the loss. It was one of the most painful, yet bonding experiences Dave and I have ever had as a couple. We had so many questions: Was this considered a baby yet? Will this baby be part of our family in the eternities? Does this mean miscarriage is going to plague our childbearing years? Was this because of the endometriosis? Is it normal to feel this much pain and feel it so intensely about this? And there were so many feelings: Sadness mixed with peace, relief mixed with guilt, fear mixed with love, anger mixed with hurt and confusion, and the list goes on.
I just sort of channeled my pain into really really working hard on my thesis so I could graduate in April and have a break as soon as possible. It worked. I got my thesis done, and it was a miracle, but I was broken. I was so broken when I graduated. I felt like a champion that day. Like I had overcome so much and grown and changed as a person like I never believed I could, but I was hurting inside, and I was still healing.
When Mother's Day came around, I couldn't do it. I really thought I'd be fine, but just an hour before I was supposed to run a choir practice, I fell apart--I couldn't stop sobbing. I felt the loss so intensely--all day at church I was weepy and sad and confused about still feeling pain about this 3 months later. Luckily Dave is super tuned in to my emotions and was able to just hold me and remind me that it's okay that I was still hurting and I didn't have to go to church if it was going to be too painful, and that there's no time limit on grief.
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It's been 6 months now since the miscarriage and I regret every day that I didn't tell more people when it was happening. Even before I was pregnant, I was personally against waiting to tell people until your 2nd trimester because it doesn't make sense to me. Don't we need support the most in the first trimester when we're vomiting all over ourselves and can't keep saltines down? And don't we absolutely need support if we're in the process of losing a baby? Anytime I've shared that I had a miscarriage since then, most women have responded with their own stories of miscarriage and how it was difficult for them too and how they understand the pain and grief. It's SO comforting to not feel alone in this, so why did I keep it to myself for so long?
I said that this has changed me and I believe it has. I think I'm exponentially more empathetic--meaning I understand better what it means to hold someone's pain with them and show them that they aren't alone in it. I'm more sensitive to infertility and issues surrounding motherhood in a religious culture that celebrates motherhood. I also took the time for myself to heal, which required some intense therapy and soul searching about how I want to be as a mother and how I can love fearlessly in this terrifying world. I worked to surround myself with people I knew I could be vulnerable with because I trust that they love me and will support me. I feel like I'm in a good place right now thanks to Dave, Heavenly Father, and other people who have loved me through this, as well as reading a WHOLE bunch of Brene Brown :). But I still struggle to understand what exactly has kept me from telling my closest friends about the miscarriage until I felt like I could present it all tied up in a neat little bow through a blog post. Any thoughts on what holds us back from being vulnerable with those we love even when we know they'll be there for us?