Monday, July 26, 2010

The Harder the Road the Sweeter the Reward

It's hard to know if it's OK to feel sad after a miscarriage. What is it that you really lost? Mothers give birth to still-born babies after months and months of bonding, sacrificing, caring and loving. Some mothers lose their precious babies after meeting them, serving them and loving them more than she ever thought it possible to love another. So a couple days after my own miscarriage of my six week pregnancy, I continued to ask myself, what did I lose, do I deserve to be sad and how much time am I allotted to feel sadness?

After 10 months of trying to conceive, I grew tired of those dreaded little blue lines peering up at me. The last month before I conceived I vowed not to take another test until I was 100 percent positive I was pregnant, either by not having my period for way too long or clad with a baby bump. There would be no more blue-lined pregnancy tests. At 28 days I began to get impatient. Each day seemed like an eternity and the next one longer. I had a feeling I was pregnant, but after so many let-downs, I couldn't let myself hope for too much. By day 34 I decided to by-pass another possible blue line and see my doctor for a blood test. After the nurse took my blood, I prayed and prayed while waiting. If I wasn't pregnant, I didn't know what I'd do, I thought. But I still didn't allow myself very much optimism. When she came out, the words coming out of her mouth seemed to me in slow motion, "You are pregnant, Kelli." I had to ask her again to make sure I had heard correctly and wasn't hallucinating. Tears began to well up and right then I had everything I wanted. On the way home, I had to pull over and cry a little and ask myself, "How is it that anyone can have everything they want?"

After waiting 10 months (I know there are woman who wait much longer than that to get pregnant, but for me, it seemed like an eternity) pregnancy was much more of a miraculous happening. It is the biggest miracle and blessing of all. Never would I complain about feeling sick or tired or fat. I was excited for these infamous events. Everything about pregnancy excited me and I found myself daydreaming, not only about my beautiful baby to-be, but of the joyous experiences to prelude it. Pregnancy. After a few moments of forgetting, butterflies entered my stomach upon remembering the baby in my belly. No longer would I have to feel a tinge of jealousy at the sight of a beautiful pregnant woman with her adorable round belly. No longer would I have to be angry when a pregnant woman complained about being fat. I had my pregnancy. I had my growing baby. Giving things up became the opposite of a nuisance, as it felt like in my previous pregnancy with my Grey, instead it became a right. In fact, I couldn't wait to give these things up in the name of pregnancy.

I began to feel blessed that it took me a little longer to get pregnant, because indeed the harder the road, the sweeter the reward. I began to daydream my little Boo proudly cuddling and playing with his new "shisher" as he hoped it would be. I had noticed his intrigue with my friends who are pregnant, as he touched their protruding bellies with wonderment. I couldn't help but be excited about putting his little hand on my rounded belly telling him there was a new brother or sister growing in Mommy's belly. It was my turn! Boo's turn!

When I began to feel cramping two days ago, I told myself cramping is normal, everyone has it. I called the doctor to make sure and he put my mind at ease. When the cramping became a little more intense, I stayed optimistic as there was no blood. Throughout the night I tossed and turned and couldn't seem to find a comfortable position as the cramping had worsened. The next morning I was in tears. I felt like I was in labor without the two or three minute breaks between contractions. I told my mom that I was able to give birth naturally without crying or even screaming because I was working for a good thing. The pain is good and necessary. But this pain wasn't good, therefore, unbearable.

I again called my doctor who wasn't in the office as it was July 24. My mom gave me some pain medication and I hunched over my knees to find a comfortable position. The pain immediately went away completely. Since my pain was completely gone I decided to go to my sister's house after all for a 24 of July breakfast. When I got home a few hours later, I went to the bathroom and began screaming. I was bleeding. The tiny thing inside me that I was trying so hard to protect was gone. All the hope and excitement I had for the future was gone. I went to the emergency room and three hours later, I wasn't pregnant anymore.

After crying and sleeping and crying some more I tried to gather my thoughts about how I am supposed to feel. I never held my baby in my arms. I never kissed it and it really could never even hear my voice when I spoke to it. (Yes I spoke to my 6-week embryo :) Miscarriages aren't rare. Many women go through this. So why do I have the right to be sad? How do others react or cope and does that reflect how I am, therefore, supposed to cope? I feel sad, hopeless, angry, confused, denied, guilty, lonely and feel somewhat of a failure to my son and husband. I know my miscarriage wasn't my fault, however, it's hard not to have these feelings. I was pretty excited about my little "lentil" (the size comparison to my embryo in Baby Center) and realized I am not grieving the loss of a child exactly, but the loss of my pregnancy and everthing attached to it. I lost the opportunity to love and bond with something and to protect it. To sacrifice and serve. I lost the excitement, the anticipation and the joy and wonderment that pregnancy is. I lost the future. For this it is OK to be sad however long it takes to heal. I lost something real and something important and my feelings don't have to reflect anyone else's.

The loss of a pregnancy sounds to some like an easy fix, "just try again." But it's not that simple. We will of course try again, but it's a long road, and it will be a lot scarier the next time around.

The silver lining, I have told myself, is that having endured this, I am able to be much more compassionate to other women who have had miscarriages. I understand what it is and that it is hard and scary and it sucks. And we deserve to grieve and be sad. I was one of those who thought, "You can always try again," but that won't cross my mind again. "I am so sorry," is all that needs to be said and felt.

I know I will be OK and hope to have more children and I look forward to many more healthy pregnancies and babies in the future. What a miracle it is.


Nicole said...

I am so sorry. That post was so touching. I'm sure it was difficult to write, but thank you for sharing that. I can't imagine how you are feeling right now. Just wanted you to know that I am thinking about you and your family.

Heather - said...

I am so sorry. Life can be really hard sometimes - especially when the thing you desire the most is a righteous desire and you can't understand why it's being denied. Again, I am so sorry. If I lived nearby, I'd give you a hug :)

Briawna said...

I wish it didn't seem so trite to say I'm sorry, but it really does break my heart to hear about your struggle. And just because lots of women have miscarriages doesn't make it any less devastating. For now, it's okay to be sad and just cuddle with Brock and Grey. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Cassandra Potter Kemp said...

Kelli, I am so so sorry!. Reading your post made me cry, it just broke my heart.. Jer's cousin also recently had a miscarriage & we wondered how that would feel or effect the person since It was only a couple month's along. So thank you for sharing, because sometimes it is so hard to truly know how that would feel. I know there are more cute little babies that will come to you, because you are such a wonderful momma. I love you Kell & you will be in our prayers as well.

Molly Rivera said...

Kelli, I know how you feel. I had a miscarriage last November at about 5 or 6 weeks as well. I was surprised at how sad I felt when I had only known I was pregnant for a couple of weeks. I shed A LOT of tears, and even felt guilty for feeling so sad as well, since I know people experience so much worse. But that really doesn't matter at all! You grieve how you need to grieve, and soon you will feel hope and excitement with the knowledge that you WILL get pregnant again when the time is right. Because you will! I'm proof of that. I know it's hard to be patient after a miscarriage too. Just find ways to distract yourself, enjoy your family and say lots of prayers, and you'll be pregnant again before you know it! Love ya!

Candida Marie said...

i have too much to say. therefore i will limit to i am so sorry and will give you a hug on friday.

Nick and Whit said...

Oh Kelli! I'm sorry. Thank you for sharing your experience, it was a beautiful post. I wish you all the best in the future and trying agian. Sometimes we need to be reminded how special and precious life is. You are wonderful and inspiring!

Jamie said...

This might sound silly but wow Kelli you are such an amazing writer.
I can't wait to meet Grey's new baby shisher! I'm always here for you and I love you lots!

Shelese said...

I had no idea you were going going through all this. I am so sorry. I just love you and Brock so much.

Being An Allred said...

I am so sorry. My heart is with you. You words are so beautiful and comapssionate for other people. Thank goodness for the gospel in our life remember you will have the chance to hold that baby in your arms someday. I wish I was with there you. Come me if there is anything I can do.

Natalie said...

You don't know me, and I don't know you, but I found your blog through "The Girl" (she and I have both had micro preemies). Anyway, I don't want to presume, as a perfect stranger, to have all the answers . . . but if I can give you permission to experience grief, I would give it to a thousand times. Your feelings are real and valid.

I just wanted to say that one thing I learned with my NICU experience is that losing an expectation is just as painful as losing a person that you know and love. It is not somehow "less" of a loss. Losing hopes and dreams is extremely painful, too, and allowing yourself to pass THROUGH the feelings is the best thing you can do.

Credit: Header photos by Jessica Kettle Photography.