Today is the day before my birthday, my last day of being 33. Today is almost a week until Christmas. Today is Monday, December 17th. And today was my due date.
I never got to see this baby. I never knew if they were a boy or a girl. I never even heard the heartbeat. I never had this baby, but I lost it.
I dreamt about them starting the very night of my first positive pregnancy test. I’m not talking dreamt as in fantasized, I’m talking real dreams while I was sleeping. My dreams about this baby were very unpleasant and I always woke up with an overwhelming feeling of worry. Now, knowing the outcome of that pregnancy, I think those feeling were mothers intuition. My worried feelings progressed as the days went on and eventually turned into despair. The few people I had told that I was expecting (more than a few really) would ask how I was feeling. I always felt guilty when answering because between my body language and general tone, I was told I didn’t seem excited. What they didn’t know was something inside me was keeping my excitement at bay. It was as though I knew something wasn’t right, that this wouldn’t last.
I can tell you that speaking about losing a pregnancy is never an easy task. There’s no right way to do it, but there’s definitely never a wrong way. Miscarriage is devastatingly more common than the unassuming would assume. People just don’t talk about it because, well, it’s fucking hard. I choose to share mine by way of brutal honesty. If you’re looking for a PG soft hearted story that is not what you’ll find here, just to warn you. I respect any and all who share their journey their way, the return of that favor is appreciated.
I lost the pregnancy at the end of April, somewhere between 7 and 8 weeks. It was early on. I hadn’t started to show or even begun “glowing” yet. But the few weeks I was fortunate enough to know that I was expecting were actually extremely unfortunate. I suffered from debilitating migraines which I couldn’t treat because the medication wasn’t approved for pregnant women. I had insomnia coupled by nightmares if I actually could fall into slumber. These nightmares, some recurring, always featured a baby or me being pregnant. Sometimes there were major malformations with my baby, sometimes I was giving birth and the doctors told me the baby would die very soon so go home and wait. And then there was the one where I birthed the baby (in toddler size) and it set out to attack me. It’s okay to laugh at that one, I even do.
I had such fluctuating hormones that I felt like Jekyl and Hyde. Masking the emotional torture I was feeling inside with laughter and jokes or being so irrational and angry that I felt like a bad mom and a bad wife. I wasn’t treating my family fairly because I was projecting all the negative shit on to them. The reality is that I never got to FEEL like I was pregnant. My breasts stopped hurting and growing pretty quickly, I wasn’t tired or sick, but I kept getting positive pregnancy tests. Some would say how lucky I was that I didn’t have the symptoms. Well, I knew my luck was about to run out.
I had constantly felt “off”, I didn’t necessarily feel pregnant, but I sure as hell didn’t feel like myself at all. That was the best way to explain it and it was awkward for some people to hear. “Are you so excited?” they would ask. “Eh, yeah? I don’t know. I mean yeah of course I am, right?” I would say. It seemed to the outsiders like maybe I didn’t want to be pregnant or that maybe I hadn’t planned on having another baby, but that was so far from the truth. I just didn’t know how to explain to people what I felt or better yet what I knew was bound to happen. What was I supposed to say, “well I’m basically waiting to have a miscarriage so I don’t know if excited is the right word”, yeah that’s a real crowd pleaser. That is wrong for basic social acceptability and it was wrong to expect that out of my pregnancy. But sadly I was right, my expectations deemed true and there was no more hiding my feelings.
The cramps came first, the nurses and doctors told me it was very normal to have mild cramping and not to worry. I told them that I didn’t think these were very normal and in fact I was worrying as I had thought something was off for a month. For the first time I was able to be honest and tell someone aloud that I knew what was coming. It seemed awfully morbid and really unfair to my unborn child that I knew I was going to lose them. That I was avoiding attachment to try to spare the pain of my expectations. Again, the doctors and nurses said not to worry and call if anything progresses from cramping. I added them to speed dial awaiting what was to come. The physical loss came the next day, actually it began while I was touring a potential preschool for Sloane. I excused myself to the bathroom for about 10 minutes (I still wonder what the teacher thought about my extended absence) and texted Darin, then I bawled my eyes out in the fetal position in the stall. My fight or flight response kicked in shortly into my emotional breakdown and I told myself to snap out of it, basically tricking my brain to think this was insignificant because it was so early. So I splashed cold water on my face and continued on the tour letting the teachers words go in one ear and out the other. I roamed the halls with a fake grin on my face, all the while I was in the midst of losing something that I never had.
The physical pain was pretty brutal, but I was able to endure it all at home and just speak to my midwife over the phone. We wept together as I tried to keep the emotional pain and grief at bay by reminding myself that my body, alongside God, is a pretty powerful force. We discussed how it was most likely that my body recognized significant abnormalities and that I didn’t do anything wrong. I believe that I was spared the immense troubles and heartache that could have been down the road had development continued. I really trust in God that this is all part of his plan for me and my family. I also have the most extraordinary family and friends who I couldn’t get through lives ups and downs without.
Within a day or two I thought I was fine, wearing pads that felt like adult diapers, and focusing my energy on Sloane. I adopted a “fake it til you make it” mentality, put my head down and marched forward. We tried to continue growing our family immediately, but each month found that we weren’t successful. It was that third month where my adopted mentality finally broke and I succumbed to the pressures I was putting on myself. I couldn’t see how affected I was since I hadn’t allowed myself to grieve because I had convinced myself I didn’t deserve to. I would tell myself this happens to so many women and that I am just fine, because maybe Gods plan was for me to only have Sloane on this earth. But I wasn’t fine, yes I wanted another child, but to what expense? I was unknowingly harboring these feelings of failure and now that they had surfaced I said to my husband we could try once more but that’s all I had.
Well, like many of you know, the once more worked. We’re expecting a baby boy this Spring! I am thrilled beyond belief though I may not show it, I may even hide it, but I am so fucking excited. If I’m being honest (why stop now?) it took a few months into this pregnancy to get past the fears of losing it. Now that I’ve overcome those fears I recognize that they are very normal. We draw emotion from past experiences so of course that would be the case. Unfortunately at the time they encompassed my being and made me feel like a bad mom. Like I wasn’t giving this baby the love they deserved because I didn’t want to attach to them as I couldn’t bear being robbed again. If you’ve ever felt this way, know that you’re not alone and in fact you’re incorrect. Feeling these things are actually reasons we are good moms. The anxieties even exists because we have so very much love and concern for the baby already. An abundance of love and concern for your child = good mom qualities. I must be doing something right.
If we were meeting the baby today my guess was that he would be a boy, at least that was my instinct. I was right with Sloane and with baby boy who is due this spring, so I would like to think I am 3 for 3, ha. Anyhow, we had a boy name picked out and started to think of the baby as Ford. With my current pregnancy we know it’s a boy and people keep asking what we are going to name him. It’s hard because the one boy name I really loved has already been given, so I just can’t name this baby boy Ford. I attached that name to our loss and I plan to meet that baby in heaven one day. We will have to get clever with another kick ass name for this little dude I’ve got growing now! But for today I will think about Ford and what could have been the day they were born. As I prepare to blow my candles out tomorrow, I will be wishing for health and happiness for Sloane and her soon to be baby brother. Now we just need another good name...