Faith / Family life / Pregnancy

Pregnancy loss: In the mind of the griever

Grief is a strange and tricky thing. It’s been a long time since I’ve had the displeasure of working my way through it and this time around I’m trying to muddle my way through my own madness. This is a long post so please bear with me.

Jimmi and I have been trying to have another baby. I’ve had four miscarriages in the past because of a progesterone deficiency and I don’t ovulate regularly (which makes getting pregnant extremely difficult and frustrating). This past December we decided to start trying to have another baby because we weren’t sure how long it would take. The second week of March I finally had my first period since November. I went to the doctor and explained what we wanted to do and he offered me Clomid again. We took him up on his offer and this past Tuesday I finally got that exciting big fat positive two days earlier than expected.Shirt-Design-21

At first I was ecstatic. Wednesday morning I took my other test (I bought a two pack). It wasn’t as dark as the test on Tuesday so I started getting worried. I did what I could to brush off the uneasy feeling. Because I’m a stereotypical compulsive test taker I took another test Thursday and I could barely see it — I had to hold it up to the light and close one eye (some of you women know what I’m talking about). I called my doctor because I wanted a blood test, but at that point there was no surprise as to what was going on.

Friday morning before I went to get my blood drawn I started spotting. By Saturday morning, because I’d forgotten to take my progesterone (which stops bleeding), there was no doubt that I was miscarrying.

I had really hoped and prayed I’d never be here again. It’s Sunday night — it’s been three days since I knew this pregnancy was over and I’m just now starting to grasp part of my feelings.

My grief is confusing. Some people would believe the normal course of action following the loss of a baby would be to cry. That’s what people do when they’re grieving do, right? Sometimes. It would almost be easier that way. Friday morning when I realized I was spotting I was on the phone with a friend and had zero emotion. Without tears I got up and went to the doctor for my blood draw. I kept myself composed at the doctor and when I left I called my step-mom and told her with the emotion of someone talking about the weather.

By the time I called my Mom I was started to feel myself getting upset so I did an impromptu run to Walmart. After all, you can’t cry in Walmart — well at least I can’t. The idea of going home and making lunch was unappealing so we stopped at Taco Bell. I took the boys and my best friend’s daughter to the science museum and by the time I got home at the end of the day I’d decided that it was time to rip up the carpet in Josiah’s room. We’ve talked about it for a few months and Friday was the day. At 7:45 p.m. I started moving stuff out of his bedroom. At 9:15 p.m. I started ripping up carpet and by 10:30 p.m. I was exhausted but the carpet and carpet pad were gone and the floor was swept.

I jumped up Saturday and packed the kids up and we spent the morning at yard sales. Because there was no way I was cooking, we stopped at Taco Bell for lunch. Once Samuel was asleep I attacked the tack strips in Josiah’s room with a vengeance. Within two hours I had all the tack strips up and all the staples pulled.

Once Samuel woke up I started cleaning the kitchen to cook dinner. As I cooked dinner I was also slicing tomatoes to make salsa. I sat on my stool eating a bite here and there while I diced tomatoes. I’d already snapped, blanched, and packaged green beans so while the salsa was canning I painted Josiah’s movie shelf and then moved on to painting his bedroom. At around 11 last night I finally felt the exhaustion and went to bed.

By this morning my brain was in a fog. I was tired and didn’t even feel like getting out of bed to go to church. I did get myself up and it was the best thing I could have done. As soon as lunch was over I started up on Josiah’s room. Then we had to go to Walmart for more supplies. Of course that was after I’d bought a dresser, book shelf, and lamp from some person online. This afternoon is when the crash hit. I couldn’t bring myself to do anymore. I found myself feeling upset because no one had mentioned the miscarriage since Friday. I’ve talked to a few different people, but it’s mostly been about remodeling Josiah’s room. Of course I know that most people have been getting mixed feelings from me because I haven’t acted that upset about it. Guess what? After running around all weekend, I couldn’t convince myself to do the dishes in order to cook dinner so…we went to Taco Bell…again.

Dealing with the hurt is hard. Coping is hard. The first miscarriage was such a shock that I cried uncontrollably for several days. I became obsessed about my teeth (odd I know). I brushed and flossed at least 5-7 times a day. I started having nightmares about my teeth falling out (seriously). It took several months before my dental hygiene habits returned to normal. I also quit the job I had and started a new job where no one knew what happened.

With the second miscarriage I went to counseling because I spent all of my time trying to be busy and being angry at everyone. I don’t remember what happened after my third, but I know after my fourth miscarriage I swore off trying to get pregnant again and started remodeling the kitchen. I didn’t find out I’d miscarried until almost 10 weeks. I went for the ultrasound and the baby had stopped developing at around 5 weeks. After having my blood drawn three separate times the doctor sat me down with 3 year old Josiah at my side to tell me that I was miscarrying. I’m normally pretty composed, but I sat in the room and cried harder than I probably ever have. The doctor sat there with me and held my hand and told me to take all the time I needed. I quit the job I was at, stopped homeschooling Josiah (he was just a pre-pre-schooler at the time), and started what I thought was my dream job.

There’s a pattern and it’s taken miscarriage number 5 to see it. Losing a baby despite my efforts leaves me spiraling out of control. So I grab the first thing I can out of the air and focus 100% of my attention on that. The first time it was my teeth. This time it’s remodeling Josiah’s room. I can’t allow my energy to linger on my lost baby and lost dreams so I have to focus on something else. I focus on that until I’m so exhausted I don’t have to think about it. It’s not enough just to focus on everyday things because those things don’t keep my mind off of it.

Doing dishes or laundry doesn’t keep my mind off of the baby. Keeping up with the everyday housework alone doesn’t keep my mind off of the baby. Thinking about the fact that I have to hurry up and get Josiah’s room remodeled so I can finish his bathroom and get our guest room put back together, get the house straightened back up the way it was, do all of the laundry, get my room cleaned, and try to keep up with school, the kids, the dogs, and the chickens — that keeps my mind off of the baby. It keeps my mind off of what I’m really feeling.

What am I feeling?

I’m in pain. Physically and emotionally. I’m falling apart on the inside because my dreams have been ripped away. To add insult to injury I have to go have my blood drawn 2-3 times to make sure I’m miscarrying completely. I have to spend several days cramping, feeling uncomfortable, and being constantly reminded of the physical fact that my body — for whatever reason — rejected my baby.

I’m mad and confused. Why does this have to keep happening? Why do I do this to myself? I told myself after the last miscarriage that I’d never do this again. After having Samuel I thought things had changed. I prayed and prayed and prayed about us taking the fertility meds. Why after all of that am I dealing with this again? I’ve spent three months taking my temperature, taking pills, having “scheduled” time with my husband. All for this.

I’m tired. I’m tired of being in the fog of my emotions. I’m tired of wanting to cry, but just not being able to gather enough emotion to do so. I’m tired of feeling like my life has become about planning for a baby because my body won’t do it the “old-fashion” way.

I feel sad. I was pregnant and now I’m not. I was having a baby and now I’m not. Life has once again left my womb before it was time. I now have five babies in heaven that I won’t get to see for a very long time. A persons a person no matter how small. It still hurts.The most emotion I’ve been able to convey to another person was when I was Facebook messaging my sister and could send sad emoticons.

I feel cheated. My body sucks and days like today I hate my body. I want to scream that it’s not fair. I’ve lost FIVE babies. Yes, I have two beautiful children that I am extremely thankful for. It doesn’t erase the emptiness you feel when you come to that due date and there’s no baby. All of the faith in the world doesn’t erase that desire to ask why. Why me? I know there’s a purpose, but in these moments you just want to know what happens in the end.

I’m lost. I really don’t know where to go from here. I thought I understood what God wanted me to do. I’m not really sure what His plan is. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to keep going with the Clomid or if I’m supposed to go back on birth control or just leave it all alone and wait for another pregnancy to pop up like it did with Samuel. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to allow the door to close on me having any more babies. We’ve always talked about adopting and recently we’ve talked about fostering. Is that the direction we’re supposed to go?

God is moving I just don’t know where and I don’t know what His plan is. I know that I’m supposed to have a houseful of kids. I just don’t know how they’re supposed to get there. I know God is asking us to go, but like Abraham He hasn’t told me where to go yet. I’ve heard Him say “move” and I’m standing here with my hands in the air asking “where to?”

I may be feeling sad, mad, confused and lost, but that’s OK. I’m praying even when I don’t feel like it and I know God is right there. “It was then He carried me” is tattooed on my foot to remind me during these times of struggle that He’s right there with me. I drove by a church sign on Friday that said, “Whatever is around the corner, God is there.” So so true. No matter what our future holds, God is already there. I only see one small piece, but my Creator sees the whole puzzle. He loves me and I have faith that everything in my life will work in the end to the glory of God.

If you’re still here reading this very long post, you may be asking, “what’s the moral of the story?”

If you’re grieving, whatever the reason, do it in your own way and in your own time.

If you’re on the outside watching someone you love grieve, just be there. Watch their cues about how they want you to respond. If they act totally OK, they probably aren’t. Be careful what you say because careless things said during this time of struggle will be remembered.

I’ve been through this before and just like the other times I will pick up the pieces and move forward — different than I was before. Stronger than I was before. I’m a very blessed woman and despite my current circumstances and unhappiness I have a joy in my life beyond understanding.

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