The Miscarriage

I am glad to report that Nate and I both have successfully travelled through the long and treacherous stages of grief, and have finally arrived at the long lost island of acceptance.  It was a perilous journey full of doubt and frustration, but we made it and are so relieved and stronger for it.  So that’s the emotional side of a miscarriage.  Let’s talk about the physical.  Although, I will warn you, it’s not for the faint of heart.

So we go to the doctor for another ultrasound to confirm that nothing has changed or grown in the past week in order to be sure it’s going to be a miscarriage.  This will be my fifth ultrasound in two weeks.  And they aren’t the ones on your belly like you see in the movies.  When you are this early in pregnancy, they have to use a camera probe up in your lady business.  Oh, the joys of being a woman.  And the doctor asks if I mind an intern sitting in because, “This is a teaching hospital.”  Sure.  You now what, let’s invite the whole waiting room in here.  I’m sure we can all learn something.

So once we confirmed that there was no baby, the doc gave me three options.  Option one: Wait to miscarry naturally which is obviously the least invasive, but could take 2-3 weeks to start, and then last another 2-3 weeks after that.  Well, I’d like to let my body do it’s thing, but let’s be honest, I can’t spend the next 3-6 weeks terrified of wearing a skirt to work because I might flood at any minute.  No thank you.  Option two:  Take some pills to force my body to miscarry which is a little more invasive, and a lot more painful, but starts within 12 hours, and lasts about a week or two.  Option three:  Get what they call a D&C which stands for dilation and curettage.  This is a short surgical procedure in which they shove a vacuum type instrument up your whooha and suck everything out.  Absolutely NOT.  The doctor assured me that it’s essentially painless during the procedure because they drug you up, but that you just have cramping afterwards.  No way Doc, no sugar-coating.  Give me the pills, but please send me home with something stronger than Motrin.

I figured I could tough it out in the comfort of my own bed with a heating pad, watching Vampire Diaries, and eating popcorn and brownies.  And that’s exactly what I did.  Although, it wasn’t as relaxing as it sounds.  First of all, the pills do not go in your mouth, as if this whole process isn’t unpleasant enough.  Second of all, the doctor didn’t warn me of the worst symptom of all, which was that I just feel BEAT up.  I guess that’s supposed to be obvious.  I mean, you are basically poisoning yourself.  I was so weak and shaky that Nate had to escort me to the bathroom all 25 times that day.  But besides that, I spent the entire day in bed.  And I haven’t been able to do that since I was pregnant with Mav, so I’m not gonna lie, it was kind of nice.  Day two was half as bad as day one, and so on.

So this whole thing got me thinking about how men tease each other, “Don’t be a pu$$y.” But actually, BE a pu$$y.  That thing is tough.  It literally performs the miracle of life like ain’t no thang.  Forgive me, but what can your twig and berries do that’s so fantastic?  And for all you men who think pregnancy and female stuff is gross — well, I was gonna say grow some balls, but we’ve already established that that’s not super incredible.  So grow some ovaries and woman-up, because we are amazing in all that our bodies can do.  Just sayin’.

But I digress.  So emotionally we have healed, and physically I am on my way.  There are just some lingering awkward social situations that will probably be around for a while.  Because even though you and your hubby have lived through this and are peacefully on the other side, it’s a really sad thing that people don’t know how to react to.  So for example, you’re in the furniture store browsing for some bunkbeds, and your husband randomly tells the sales guy you plan on having another baby.  I have no idea why he said this.  Like if he had a momentary lapse of memory about the pending miscarriage, or if he was already thinking about trying again.  Either way, I was caught off guard when the sales guy looked at my belly and said, “Congratulations.”  And I said, “No, I’m not pregnant.”  But then I realized that that was a lie because technically I am pregnant with a nonexistent baby.  But how am I gonna explain that to the sales guy.  So I just smile at him and then give Nate the, “You started this awkward conversation, you finish it,” look.

Or while at a friend’s house, Nate pulls up a selfie I took because I wanted to document how horrible I looked that day.  And he shows it to our friends in an attempt to embarrass me like, “Haha, these random pictures Raquel takes pop up on my phone via the iCloud.”  And then without a beat, I respond, “Well excuse me for looking like crap the day I miscarried, you insensitive jerk-off.”  And I’m hysterically laughing because I know I just made Nate swallow his words.  But our friends just go blank faced and try to pretend they were distracted by the TV.  Awkward.  Well, it has been very sad.  But after so many days of crying and denial and every other emotion, you just want to laugh about it and liberate yourself.  Because if you can’t laugh about things that are completely out of your control, life’s just not as fun as it should be.

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Week 8

Well all, I have some really sad news.  The doctor has told us to expect a miscarriage.  I spent all day Thursday at the hospital doing ultrasounds and blood tests.  The doctor told me that my body is technically pregnant and ready to grow a baby, but the fertilized egg probably didn’t implant properly.  Therefore, no baby is growing.  About 33 % of all pregnancies result in miscarriage, 13% being women who never even knew they were pregnant.  And once they start bleeding, they just think it’s their period.  20% of known pregnancies result in a miscarriage.  This is where I fall.  Let me tell you, it’s devastating.  Although the baby isn’t real yet to your family and friends, the second you find out you are pregnant, you start falling in love.

So Nate and I spent the weekend wandering through our stages of grief.  I spent a long time in denial, and a part of me will stay there until I actually miscarry.  You can’t help but hope for a miracle.  And you so badly want to tell the doctors they are wrong and dumb.  Also I completely believe, irrationally, that if I had never gone to that appointment, none of this would have happened.  Because maybe the baby just needs more time.  And, again, the doctors are dumb.  I think Nate is still in denial, and will probably stay there until he comes with me this week and hears from the doctors himself.  Or until I actually miscarry. I think it’s all a little surreal for the dads.  And it’s hard for them to stomach that they couldn’t protect their family from this.

I’ve gone through some bargaining too.  Like I will never complain about being pregnant again if I can just keep this baby.  Not only is this ridiculous, but even I know that’s a lie.  I am a woman and a mom, and that is my right.  I’ve only really felt anger towards the doctors.  Because like I said before, they are dumb.  I’ve definitely gone through depression the most, when I’m not bouncing back to denial.  I think depression is the hardest of the stages, but the closest to acceptance.  I also feel like it’s the healthiest of the stages because it seems natural to just be sad about this.

So I’ll be sad for a while, and that’s okay.  Don’t let anyone tell you any different.  It may not have been real for most people in your life, but it was growing inside of you, and your body was reminding you every minute.  I think my hardest moment was walking out of the doctor’s office alone, red-faced, and crying, into a waiting room of at least 20 pregnant women, and I know they can all see right through me.  I am no longer one of them, and they are all thinking, “Thank God it’s not me.”  I know I’ve had that thought in the past.  The minute you get pregnant, you start worrying about that little life.  And you will never stop worrying for the rest of your life.  That’s being a mom.  Be proud, and worry on.  And try not to beat yourself up when you couldn’t prevent your baby from getting hurt.  Sh*t happens, and you can only do so much.

So here I am, going through my stages.  And praying for strength and acceptance for myself, and all other moms who have, or are currently going through this.  We WILL all get through this and be on the other side soon enough.  Until then, it’s okay to cry.  A LOT.

Week 7

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This week I want to shout out to all of my fellow military wives.  All wives and mothers are incredible, but we are especially badass.  Here’s an idea; let’s marry our soulmate and build a life based on the premise that two adults will share the responsibilities.  Let’s buy a house and a couple cars.  And have some kids.  And let’s get a couple dogs too.  Why not?  But wait a minute…You’re going to leave me with all of this for weeks to months at a time, with sometimes only a few days’ notice?!?!  Okay.  I can handle this.  I’m organized and strong and capable.  Then the washing machine breaks and floods the house, his truck won’t start, and an unfriendly critter takes up residence under the deck.

Okay.  Take the kids to Sears and pay to have the washer delivered and installed, all while never letting the delivery men know your husband is away.  Because we are trained to be hyper vigilant while they are gone.  Arrange to have the truck towed and fixed, and then call in a family or friend favor to pick it up.  Because you can’t drag two kids and carseats into the courtesy shuttle the dealership offers.  And the critter…Well, it’s a possum, and she’s stayin.  I’ve named her Petunia and her pups.  That’s right, she had babies.  Much to our dog’s distress.  He was very uncomfortable with our new house guest, but we were all making sacrifices.

And when I say uncomfortable,  I mean he was howling and trying to tear up the deck.  Bobos already gets anxiety when Nate leaves.  Like in his mind, he’s supposed to protect the family while Dad’s away, and it’s just too much.  He especially loses his mind when I leave the house with the kids, which I really only do during the day for a couple of hours at a time.  Then I return home to angry notes from the neighbors about my dog’s, “Nonstop howling day and night.”  They all get very bold when they know it’s just lil ol’ me at home.  Well, watch out people, hear me roar.  So just to summarize, four things happen EVERY time Nate leaves; something floods, something breaks, something moves in, and everyone’s emotional stability goes downhill.

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Meanwhile, your husband feels more like a teenage son who’s going away to summer camp.  Because while you are stressing, he’s giddy on the inside to go fight for the country he loves and make a difference.  And be with his brotherhood.  And when he leaves you are always worried about him, usually can’t contact him, and are left with the responsibilities of the life he left behind.  Like his uniforms he dropped off at the dry cleaner and apparently never pick up.  Or the appointment with the solar panel people he made a month ago and forgot to remind you about.  Or my personal favorite, didn’t set up the cable and internet on auto pay, and you find out when it’s turned off.

So you call and find out that somehow, you are not on the account, and the fact that you are the wife and have all the passwords means nothing.  “We need to speak to him, ma’am.”  “I’m sorry, didn’t I mention he’s deployed?  Like military?  Like out of the country, fighting for your freedoms!  Dude, do your part and turn my internet back on.”  No go.  So now I have to drive down there and shove the power of attorney in his face.  All the while my two-year-old is destroying his office.  Well, dude deserves it.  And my two-month-old is hungry and crying, making my milk come in and drench my shirt.  And you are like please, Lord, give me the patience and strength to not rip this guy’s head off.  It’s not his fault I’m a freaking wreak these days.

And on the drive home you hear a country song and you lose all your anger to how deeply you miss your husband.  And then just start uncontrollably bawling.  This is all in a normal day.  Well, no one can say that we don’t do our part for our country.  We hold down the home front and keep this ship from sinking even when it has a thousand leaks.  Make no mistake ladies, we are the backbone of our families.  So others may live.  Hooyah!

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Week 6

Morning sickness.  The word, “Morning,” is completely deceiving and even sounds kind of pretty, right?  Like, oh, I’m just slightly queasy sometimes in the morning before I have things to do.  WRONG.  It should be called, all day every day life halting misery.  And I didn’t even have it that bad.  I know many women who can’t keep a single saltine down.  My friend actually cut her hair short because she was sick of trying to hold her hair back while constantly throwing up.  From what I gather from the medical people, is that this is your body’s way of responding to the out of control hormones.  There you go again blaming the hormones.  But any who, they say your body usually gets used to the hormones after a couple of months, and that’s why most women only experience this in the first trimester.

In my experience, I feel the worst right when I wake up in the morning with an empty stomach.  And after pathetically force-feeding myself a slice of bread, which usually takes about thirty minutes, I start to feel better.  First pregnancy morning sickness is brutal and quite shocking.  Every pregnancy after is no longer shocking, but exponentially more brutal.  Because now I no longer have the time to nurse myself in the morning with my bread.  Instead I have to clench my teeth and hold my breath as I try not to throw up on my one-year-old while changing his diaper and making his eggs.  I’m telling you, it’s a challenge.

But going to work isn’t much better.  Sure, you don’t have the gag inducing smells a house with a one-year-old and dogs has.  But you have the embarrassment of running to the bathroom in front of everyone.  And I don’t mean speed walking, I mean sprinting.  Or how about a long car ride through some windy mountain roads.  Yeah, that sounds like fun.  Throw in a couple screaming toddlers and a gassy labrador and it’s a freaking party.  And at that point, I just start uncontrollably laughing because that’s all you can do.  And seriously, the babies are totally worth it in the end.  So just keep clenching your teeth and holding your breath until then 😉

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