I’ve been trying not to think about the “what might have beens” lately. In these past few months I’ve found that they can cause a lot of pain, and so I make a quiet acknowledgement of some sad milestone and (try) to push it to the back of my mind.
Today, Mother’s Day, that was pretty hard to do. Harder than usual.
Had things gone right, I would have been about 24 weeks pregnant today. Possibly with twins (ironically what we were the most scared of when we found out I was pregnant). How big would my bump be by now? Would I be having health complications due to carrying twins, or healthy and just slightly uncomfortable? We would have found out the gender(s) by now, so I’m sure our apartment would have been overran by baby stuff. Would we have found a bigger place or panicked and moved to Arizona to have our moms’ help out? Was it a boy and a girl? Two boys? Two girls? I will never know the answers to these questions. Sometimes I think it’s better that way….to not have known everything and been too “attached.” But I was already attached. I was already in love. Finding out I was not only miscarrying, but that I was losing TWO babies at the same time was just salt in the wound.
Today was bittersweet. I tried to focus on my sweet Little Bee that I have here on earth. He was so excited to “celebrate me” and kept asking me if I was having a good Mother’s Day. C drove us all around the coast in the eternal quest for more sunshine. I enjoyed every moment I spent with those boys, but in the quiet in-between moments I felt sad. Sad for how our day could have been different, should have been different, if we hadn’t heard those words 3 months ago….
“Unfortunately it looks like a miscarriage.”
And then I got the sinking realization that SO many women feel this way, especially on this day. All those women who have lost baby after baby, who are struggling to conceive, who want nothing more than their own child to hold in their arms. I’ve had nothing but sweet Mother’s Days for the past 7 years. I’ve never experienced a painful one, even when I was broke and single and all alone with an impossible baby. My family made sure I felt loved and adored. Even though they did the same today, there was an ache that nobody could erase. And now I know how it feels to want something so desperately, so unattainable on a day that it is flaunted around. Even though I have a healthy and a very much alive child of my own, I have lost two. I would give almost anything to get them back. Or to get another chance. But unfortunately, life doesn’t work like that.
So here I will say Semi-Happy Mother’s Day to the women who have lost babies. Who are trying so hard to act like this doesn’t hurt like fucking hell. Who want to be happy and appreciative, but just can’t shake that deep-rooted desire. It’s okay to be sad, hurt, bitter, confused, depressed, angry. It’s natural. It’s part of healing.
I tried to do yoga tonight, but ended up doing nothing more than a few different variations of forward folds before I ended up in embryo pose*, crying. My body hurts, my soul is exhausted, and my heart is still, SOMEHOW fightin' the good fight. It's been two months since my D&C. Today I am on menstrual cycle number two since the miscarriage which is a blessing and a curse. A blessing as my body seems to be bouncing back quickly and trying to regulate her hormones, which hopefully means no more complications. A curse, of course, because I shouldn't be dealing with my cycle right now. I should be rubbing coconut oil on my itchy belly and finding out the gender (I'd be 19 1/2 weeks right now). But for whatever reason the Universe/God has, I'm not. I'm suffering through some pretty massive cramps and insane mood swings, and a big fat case of the "not fairs." A very dear friend of mine had her gender reveal party this weekend…we found out about our pregnancies 3 days apart. Her party just so happened to fall on the 2 month to the DAY mark of my procedure. I went, and am so SO excited for them and their baby boy. But it was pretty rough, emotionally. It knocked me for a loop and I can't seem to find my feet.
I can't believe it's been two months already, yet at the same time can't believe it's ONLY been two months. It's been a weird 60 days. Some days I think I'm doing good, think I've finally accepted what happened, and just focus on looking forward…planning our wedding, dreaming of/working toward a big move….. Other days I am drowning in sorrow and obsessively think about babies in a way that is probably pretty unhealthy.** If left to my own devices, I most likely wouldn't get out of bed. But I have a family, and responsibilities that require my attention and presence. All. The. Damn. Time. Which really is a blessing because they are saving me from myself. Grief is a really messy, ugly thing that I try to keep private, yet alternately, can't stand to deal with alone. If you looked up "fucked up" in the dictionary, I'm fairly confident GRIEF would be right there as the first definition.
I managed to get straight A's for Winter term, which considering I was dealing with a surprise pregnancy and the subsequent loss (not to mention an even bigger surprise proposal thrown in there), it's a gosh darn miracle I didn't flunk. I'm pretty sure I missed 2 straight weeks of classes. But the Scandinavian side of me dug down deep and pulled out reserves and stoicism I didn't know I possessed. I passed, and better yet, remembered WHY I went back to school in the first place. In the deep throes of my grief, I was contemplating quitting school before I basically even got started. In my desperate attempt to make sense of things, I thought that losing the babies (still hard to grasp there were two in there) was a big ol' sign that I was an idiot for thinking I could handle school on top of everything else. But the fact that I got 3 A's and am in some pretty kick ass courses this term has kinda brought me back to the light. I never thought I'd re-find my path in the darkest of blackholes. Life's funny that way. Not funny ha-ha. Just "gonna laugh into my wine class so I don't sob" funny. *glug glug glug*
At least I can drink wine again. And mainline coffee like some junkie downtown. At this point, that's the only silver lining I can find in this damn melodrama.
*the irony of this asana's westernized name is not lost on me y'all. But it's oddly comforting. **I'm not creepily contemplating kidnapping some poor woman's newborn and raising it as my own, promise. That's a whole level of crazy that I'm not even close to.
(featured image is from Banksy, I believe….someone please correct me if I'm wrong)
***(This post contains sensitive subjects that can be triggering for some.)***
This past month has been an absolute rollercoaster of a ride. I have been at the highest high I’ve ever experienced in life, to one of the lowest lows I didn’t know I could reach. All within a matter of literally 30 days. A month that flew by, but nevertheless completely altered my life in a way that can never be undone.
On December 27, I found out I was pregnant. It was early morning and I took the test while C was in the shower (in case it was negative, as I was sure it was going to be, he wouldn’t even know I had taken one). I burst out laughing when I saw the plus sign then stared in the mirror whispering “oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck.” I was elated to be carrying a baby again, but scheduled to start school (for the first time in 7 years) in less than 2 weeks time! I told C as he was brushing his teeth and the look on his face is one I will never forget. We were both over the moon happy and absolutely terrified. According to my cycle tracking app, I was still pretty early along- about 6 weeks-so we kept our joyous secret quiet for awhile. I walked around for about two straight days with a permanent dorky grin on my face. It was just unbelievable, in the best way possible.
On January 8, I rode the MAX to downtown, hiked uphill for half a mile and walked into my first college classroom in nearly a decade. Well…actually I had a panic attack at the doorway and bolted, so I technically skipped my first class. But still. I did the biggest, scariest thing I had been dreaming about for years. All while harboring a tiny secret in my womb, wondering how the HELL I was going to manage pregnancy, mothering a 6 year old, working, AND my studies. I had my doubts, but this was pretty much everything I had ever wanted, so I knew I could do it. I wanted to do it.
A week later on January 14, C decided we should take an impromptu drive to the coast to enjoy an abnormally mild and sunny day. I jumped at the chance to go to my favorite place on earth and away we went. As we walked along the shoreline, he dropped to a knee, pulled out a blingy-ass ring and PROPOSED TO ME. I was taken completely by surprise–so much so that I yelled “SHUT UP!!!” before realizing it was not a joke and answering with a tearful “yes”!! In a matter of 2 weeks, every dream I had been quietly (or not so quietly) harboring in my heart came true. I was floating on Cloud 9. I smiled all the time, I spent my hours daydreaming of baby names and wedding gowns. I happily gave up my wine and cut back on my coffee. I chewed disgusting prenatal vitamins and obsessively checked and rechecked the list of “no-no foods”. We were nervous about how we were going to manage everything, but we were SO ready for the challenge! We decided on a wedding after the baby came and starting throwing out potential names. Little Bee was getting excited to be a big brother and teach him (we were all certain the baby was a boy) football. The fairytale that I didn’t used to believe in was all of a sudden a reality. I was planning the perfect wedding with the man of my dreams, and carrying our baby.
And then, a month after seeing that plus sign, my world came crashing down. We went in for a routine ultrasound on January 31. After waiting an agonizing HOUR to get our results, an OB walked in and said the words that I will never, ever forget:
“Unfortunately it looks like it is a miscarriage. We couldn’t find a heartbeat.”
I heard C sigh long and low behind me. I got cold, then hot and dizzy. I dropped the f-bomb and then the floor fell out from underneath me. I sat on the paper covered exam table, listening to the roar of my heartbeat and choking on disbelief and tears. To make the heartache even worse, he told us there was a second sac. Twins. I had been carrying, and lost, twins. We listened numbly to the OB go on about the causes of miscarriages, the next steps to take, the resources offered to us. He left after giving us condolences and I fell apart. I have known heartache, but I have never quite felt a hurt like that. I had never even seen the baby, but I was so in love with it. I had a name secretly picked out. It was my dream baby and now, he…THEY…were gone. Just like that. In a cruel, horrible twist of fate.
The following days were a fog of grief. My mom came, I called out of work day after day. I missed a lot of classes. Nothing happened on it’s own, so I scheduled a D&C a week after the ultrasound. C went with me, my mom stayed home to pickup Little Bee and shower attention on that sweet, nervous boy. The procedure went without any complications, but I wasn’t all the way awake from sedation before I started crying. I could tell my womb was empty. I felt like they had scraped out my soul along with my dead baby. I was a shell. I tried to return to work, but called out more than I showed up. I had to postpone a midterm and delete my Facebook. I spent a lot of time in bed, and a lot of time crying when nobody was around. Post surgery was harder emotionally than the week before it. The reality of all that had happened was impossible to ignore every time I saw blood in the toilet or in my underwear. The sharp, contraction-like cramps were a harsh reminder of what my body was expelling. It seemed everywhere I looked, there were babies or pregnant bellies. I had once, just recently, been part of that glowing club. Now I was part of the club nobody talks about, lurking in the dark shadows, trying to smile through the pain. Trying to show up for our family when all we want to do is disappear into a hole as deep as our pain.
Some days I feel on top of my game: I take my vitamins to help heal my body, I made it to a week of classes, and two full work shifts. My attention has swung from nurseries and baby names to guest lists and wedding venues. I found my wedding dress, set a date and nailed down my colors. But a breakdown is never far away. A picture, an announcement, a newborn strapped to his mother’s chest as they walk past me in the city…all have sent me to my knees. My hands still sometimes wander absentmindedly to my stomach, and then my heart clenches when I remember. My boobs have shrunk back to their normal size, my stomach has flattened again. I can tell my hormones are trying to catch up because I swing from very high, to very low, and am breaking out like a teenager. My eating has been horrendous and my vow of no drinking broken many times. I know healing will take time, but I’m ready for that time to be now. It feels like an eternity since January 31, but it hasn’t even been a month. We will try again, but there needs to be time first.
And yet through this horrible darkness, I have learned a lot about love. I have learned that sometimes love is literally the only thing to keep you moving…my love for my living child, my love for C. That is what gets me out of bed in the morning. The text messages from long-distance friends making sure you are okay. A perfectly timed care package showing up on your doorstep during one of the darkest days. C taking off work just to sit beside me and hold my hand when my pain is too great to speak. My mother dropping literally EVERYTHING and flying across the country in less than 24 hours after picking up my tearful phone call. The gleeful shouts and hugs around the knees from my kiddos when I finally drag myself to work. Love. We as humans can experience the deepest, strongest love during our darkest, most painful of storms. The people who show up without you asking are the people who care the most. Even if you haven’t seen them in years, or talked to them in months….THOSE are the ones you need to surround yourself with. In the good days and the bad.
I thought I loved C before this nightmare. But I have realized HOW MUCH his love can move me, how much I need him around. He is an absolute rock during the chaos, the most selfless person I have met outside of my own parents. I honestly don’t think I could have clawed my way out of that tunnel without him beside me, encouraging me to rest, taking care of dinners, letting me cry when I couldn’t hold it back. I know this too: we can survive anything. We have been thrown a very cruel test that not all couples experience. It’s only been 3 weeks since the nightmare started, but already I can tell we are going to be okay. We will rise above this hand in hand, steadfast in our love, and brave as we face the future together. We can’t erase this pain, but we won’t let it break us either. It has shown us that yes, this IS what we want. We want a family, a life together, regardless of the what-ifs and the how-the-hells. If we can survive this, I’m confident we can survive whatever else the universe wants to throw at us. But Sweet Baby Jesus, please nothing else. Just because we can survive it, doesn’t mean we want to try, okay??
I knew the statistic. 1 in 4 women miscarry. I just never knew I’d be part of that statistic. My mother is. Two of my best friends and several co-workers are. And now, me. It’s not a fun “club.” It’s not something I’d wish on anybody. I know it does no good to ask why, or blame myself or scour the internet looking for answers. But regardless, I’ve done all that. It’s just part of the process. I know I tried everything I could to keep those babies healthy. For some unknown reason, they were not meant to stay with me. I wish I knew why, I really do. I wish I knew what “lesson” I was supposed to learn from this. But I probably never will. The phrase “everything happens for a reason” doesn’t sit well with me for this particular experience (or ever really). Things happen that are beyond our reasoning. The only thing I know for sure is that for the entire 11 weeks I carried those babies, I loved them. I will always love them. But this isn’t the end of my story.
To any parents out there who have lost babies too….I see you in your shadows. I hear your heart breaking. I see the tears you just cried in the car on our way home but hastily wiped away as you pulled into your neighborhood. You are not alone. I am here. We are here. There are so many of us.
“Love is deep as the road is long/it moves my feet to carry on/It beats my heart when you are gone/love is deep as the road is long.” ~The Lumineers
It is currently 4:15 am and I have been up for roughly 2 straight hours thanks to my clingy-ass friend Anxiety. I had only been sleeping for about 3 hours when the wind picked up, blew in through my open window and slammed our bedroom door shut. Sure, that would wake most people up, but "normal" people would also fall right back asleep after a few minutes. Not me, not this anxiety cucumber. This is what happens when Anxiety takes over your brain:
(Thoughts in italics are Anxiety. Thoughts in regular font is my common sense trying desperately to break through. These are ACTUAL thoughts racing through my head when I should be sleeping.)
*door slams shut* -Shit what was that!? We're being robbed! -No dummy it was the wind. Remember you saw we were expecting high winds today. Looks like they've arrived. -Oh right. Did it wake up G? Is he crying terrified in his room?? -Mmm….sounds quiet. He sleeps like the dead. I'm sure he's fine. *a bang from outside* -Another crash! Did something fall off the walls!? -No. It was outside probably in that dude'a backyard. -Okay. We really need to get some sleep. -Yeah we do. Good night. ….. -I think I hear somebody's smoke detector going off! -No you don't. -Yes I do. -No you don't. Go to sleep. -Ok yep that is most definitely a smoke alarm. Is it our building?! Is the fire department here again? Fuck what do I do!? -Calm down, for one. It doesn't really sound like a smoke detector. It could be somebody's alarm clock and they're not home to turn it off…? -No that is smoke detector! I don't smell smoke though. Or hear sirens. Although they turn sirens off in a neighborhood. It sounds so close. Might even be our building. Possibly the one next to us. Why won't it go off?? Ok, I have to get up and check. I'll feel better. -Fine. *wanders around apartment to back deck. Looks for flames or fire trucks or anything amiss. Nothing.* -Well…?? -Maybe it wasn't a fire after all. But it's super annoying. I'm going to shut the window so we can sleep. -Good idea. ….. -What if it WAS a fire!? -Oh god here we go…. -No I'm serious! We have to think about these things! I'd grab my emergency binder. Oh and the custody notebook! They're right next to each other in the closet. Oh man, I'm not wearing clothes so I'd have to throw something on really quick. Ok so get dressed, grab the notebooks. Wrap G up in his blankets to keep warm, throw the notebooks in my purse because that's where my car keys are and we'd definitely need a car, and we'd get out. That can all be done really quickly! But poor G wouldn't even have shoes! He can't go to school without shoes! I'd have to call the principal and talk to her. When would he be ready to go back? The next day? The next week? But it'd be something we'd just deal with. At least I know we can get out relatively quick. -Ok good. See? You've got a plan. Bedtime! -But what if we can't get out the front door and down the stairs!? -Oh for fucks sake. -We'd have to jump off the deck. It's the only logical way because the windows are too high! Corey would have to go first, then I'd throw G to him, then I'd make my way down. That damn tree would cause problems. Maybe it'd be helpful actually? G would be so scared. I wonder if he would jump on his own, or if I would have to throw him? Am I strong enough? -Let's hope we never have to find out. You've got your plan, can we please go to sleep now!? -OH MY GOD WHAT ABOUT HISS!?!?! I forgot all about him! I couldn't leave him in there to burn! Ok so Corey would have to carry G, I'd have to grab my purse and the cat. How the hell am I going to jump off the deck with a 20 pound cat? And he's not gonna let me hold him all night while we wait for the fire to be put out. Plus G will want to be held too I'm sure. So do I just let the cat go and pray he comes back home when the chaos is over??? -You are INSANE! Can you please calm the fuck down!?!? You realize NONE of this has happened right?! There's not even a fire, Brittani! -I'm sorry. I don't know why I'm like this. We're gonna be so tired tomorrow. The alarm is going off in 2 hours! We only got, what, like 3 hours of sleep? Fuck that's going to be a rough Monday. -I KNOW. -Ok I will try to sleep now. -Praise Jesus. *start to dose off. Boyfriend begins snoring in earnest.* -I can't sleep under these circumstances! I'm going to the couch. -Fine, but NO murder shows. -I'm not even going to turn on the TV. I need sleep. -Smart girl. *get situated on the couch, just about to fall asleep* -Oh my god! I have to register for classes today!!! -Well we are never going to sleep now are we? -Ahahaha nooooppppeee.
Ok so clearly I didn’t do very well with that 30 day writing challenge. My 4 day trip to North Carolina, then coming home with a horrible cold, and Daylight Savings Time ending just screwed with me hard and I couldn’t catch up. I’m still struggling to complete all the things that I need to during the day, and haven’t been able to drag myself out of bed early enough in the morning to write or do yoga…or pretty much anything. Winter and I don’t get along, and I am obviously feeling the affects of the perpetual darkness. I need to research Hyyge and see if that will help me. But only if it includes a housecleaner….
So the one good thing that came out of that writing challenge was that it got my fire relit for writing. If too many days have gone by without me touching a keyboard or pen, I start to crave it much like I do with yoga. That was the main reason I started it, so mission accomplished I suppose! I want to continue to write, but without the prompts. I just need to find a direction for this blog…it feels kinda scattered and all over the place right now. Kinda like my life. I guess it could be a “lifestyle” blog for the disastrous people. The people who feel too much, and work too much at jobs that don’t fulfill them. People whose anxiety is crushing 24/7 and prevents them from chasing their dreams. The people who put everybody before themselves until they forget who they even are anymore. The people who just can’t GET. IT. TOGETHER. whatever the fuck that means.
I’m going to officially stop the 30 Day Writing Prompt project, 5 days short of completion yet 11 days late. The last few prompts were actually pretty good, but I just can’t think that in depth currently. I might write about them at a later date, but for now I will try to come up with my own writing points. Thanks for cheering me on, and reading all the nonsense. My ride isn’t over yet, I hope you stick around!
If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?
First of all, why do I have to pick just ONE person!?! I did study history….I have a lot of idols to chose from.
And second of all, regardless of what we eat, you know damn well it will be gluten and dairy free so I don’t have to worry about getting sick. Although I will probably just keep that to myself so my historical dinner guest doesn’t think I’m crazy. They probably won’t even know what gluten is.
So I’ve spent days thinking about this, and if I have to narrow it down to just one person I think I’d pick Susan B. Anthony. I’d love to hear tales of how she bucked tradition, challenged how people viewed women, and refused to back down from what she believed in. Being an outspoken women is scary in today’s world, so I can’t imagine how it would have been in the Victorian era. Women were supposed to be quiet, proper and practically unseen, and yet Susan was out on the streets leading a revolution and getting arrested! The shock! I would love for her to see where her hard work and dedication got our society today, and discuss how far we still have to go. I’m sure she is an eloquent speaker and probably a hilarious conversationalist. I’d be curious about the foods most popular during her lifetime and would try to re-create them in ways I could eat. Then I’d serve her some popular food of current times and see what she thinks. Did they eat avocado back then? What about kale and quinoa??
I really wish this could happen. Think of how fun it would be!!
Describe your family dynamic of your childhood verses your family dynamic now.
Hmmm….well now this is interesting. The four of us have always been very close, but I feel that we are closer now that my brother and I are adults, out of the house, and have children of our own. We can look back now, as parents ourselves, and see “oh yeah that’s why Mom & Dad did/said that.” A lot of things that irritated me or didn’t make sense as a child now absolutely make sense as a parent. I have told my parents many times in the past 6 years, I understand everything now. I get it.
I think on the opposite side of that, my parents can now look at us as adults (and for the most part fairly successful adults) and realize that the hard work is done, they can step back and allow us to make our own decisions. Obviously, they are always there for guidance and advice if needed, but it’s usually us coming to them, instead of them telling us what should be done. They recognize us for our own people, who do things in vastly different ways. While that sometimes irritates the shit out of them, or confuses them, my parents have perfected the art of sitting back and watching us figure out life for ourselves.
I like the dynamic my family has now. I feel comfortable in being my true self around them, instead of like I have to be squeezed into a mold of what a daughter should be. I swear ( a lot), I have tattoos (8), and piercings and I drink a touch. While I know my father wishes I wouldn’t do or have any of that, he has accepted that I am a grown ass woman (most of the time) with a life & family of my own. I own who I am, and the values instilled in me from my family during childhood. My brother and I will always respect, admire and love our parents, but their role is now more of the backseat driver rather than the chauffeur of our lives. The don’t drive us where they want us to go, but rather gently suggest our next turn while we act as the chauffeurs to our children. I’m not sure I’m explaining that in a way that makes sense to anyone other than me. But basically….I think my brother and I have more common ground with our parents now, therefore a more peaceful and understanding relationship. They know that we had to do some dumb shit to get to the successful places we are now, and we know that they had to be hard on us at times to prevent us from being delinquents. The view of your childhood changes drastically when you become a parent. Things make so much more sense to you, and the respect for your parents increases a hundredfold (if you are lucky enough to have great parents like I am….I imagine a bad childhood would invoke different feelings upon reaching parenthood).
The thing is: I love my family. Then and now. I will always strive to make my daddy proud, and Mama will always know whats on my mind before I even have to say it. My brother and I will pick and poke and tease each other until someone gets pissed. And then we’ll hug and make up. Somethings time can never change. And I’m okay with that.