Just to be clear… I did not think that the telling of this story would fall into chapter form. But so goes life with a little one. I write in bits and pieces now.
Between feedings, naps, and playtime.
You may have noticed that since parts 1 & 2… I’ve stalled. Again… building courage… potentially because the lead up is a little easier, and the harder part comes next. I looked over those two posts, and they read almost like a love letter to Mark, my now husband.
Which is appropriate I suppose. It was because of him, that I started to view having children less as a startling life interruption, and instead as starting a family, creating a future built off of an amazing love you have for another person. These things had just never clicked for me before in that simple way. And life would not be what it was now had it not been for him.
Like I was saying in my “part 2” I had always thought it would be a no-brainer. An automatic response. Because they tell you, it’s just a microscopic collection of cells at the very beginning, right? But everything that I thought before, and everything that other people told me meant absolutely nothing. Nothing in comparison to the reality that a tiny being had started to form in me. When you begin to feel that tiny realization grow… that unimaginable bundle of potentiality… size and development and science and religion and well-intentioned advice and warnings… they all mean nothing. And the wonderment and the awe… they only crescendo.
Me, I’m a reader. I’m a researcher. I devour as much information as I possibly can when my interest has been peaked. And to say my interest had been peaked at this developing little soul inside me… well that’s a ridiculous understatement.
I soaked it all up. I shyly but excitedly spread the word to my friends and those I worked with. Mark and I talked and planned some more. We even found a one bedroom apartment to move into together, contacted the landlord and submitted an application.
It felt much longer… but it must have just been days. Because from awareness to completion… that pregnancy lasted almost exactly two weeks.
And this is what was the hard part.
Not the miscarriage itself, there was no pain or physical difficulty. Mine was all emotional. I laid out the contrasts in my former self in that last post to highlight the extreme mental plowing I had to do in order to prepare my mind and my heart for the embarking on a journey towards motherhood, towards partnership, towards putting someone else’s needs before my own for as long as they needed me to develop and grow and thrive and learn. These were things to which I had barely given a second thought, previous to these two weeks. And so much processing and soul searching, reality checking and dream analysis went into reworking myself from the girl who pulled over to the side of the road and sobbed in terror at the news, to one who could not contain my wild reverence for what was about to happen to our lives, whose eyes sparkled whenever I told someone new.
And then I miscarried.
The day we were going to drive down to Orange County to tell my parents, I started spotting. A nervous hour of monitering led to a cancel of that morning’s breakfast plans, and a five hour stay in the emergency room. No pain. Just suspension. Confusion. Disbelief. Not even disbelief in the sense of “How could this happen to us?!”… I wasn’t there yet. I was still really in disbelief. I did not believe the events that were occuring. I still thought that everything had to be okay in there… this was just some rarity.
I laid in a hospital bed, Mark stood or sat next to me. We held on to each other. We talked very little, except to acknowledge that people were giving us mixed messages. A bait of hope that this was a false alarm, followed by some casual statistics of the frequency of miscarriages this early on. Doctors and nurses came and went. Blood was drawn time after time for test after test. Ultrasounds were done on two different floors. They wheeled me in the bed through the hallways, under the fluorescent lights, with inconclusive results. Blood pressure checks, the same questions over and over, the same numbness and dazed feeling that came over me in the clinic two weeks before. When life as I knew it had changed… the first time.
I made up a story about not being able to get out of work for that weekend, and texted it to my parents. We went back to Mark’s place after leaving the hospital, a follow up appointment at the county clinic for Monday morning, and some more Gelson’s comfort food.
Looking back, I’m so impressed with how we handled that miscarriage. That may seem like a strange thing to say, but it stands in stark contrast with the poor way in which I handled the second miscarriage I had about six months later. But after the first one, we leaned on each other the way that a couple should. We cried and we held each other and we looked to some healthy distractions, but we let the emotion out when we needed to. And as time went on, even well into the times where we had the inkling that maybe we should have been “passed it” by then… we still told each other when there was a day that we were feeling particularly heartbroken, and needed maybe a little more patience or sensitivity.
And we had to go back, through the lists of people we had sheepishly, yet excitedly told about our big news… and tell them what had happened. That was so hard. Because then you had to choose whether to paint on a brave face, or cry on the spot. And then there were always people you had forgotten to tell the updated story to… I was leaving a class at the massage school one day when one of the student receptionists asked me an excited question about my pregnancy. It stunned me nearly into tears and I pasted on a smile, said itwasfine, and booked it out the door, letting her believe, for a while longer at least, that I was still glowing… not wanting to tell the story again just yet.
I remember feeling, even a couple weeks after the 2nd follow up appointment confirmed in hormone levels that I had, indeed, miscarried… like they were all wrong somehow, and my little one was still growing inside me.
Eventually it sunk in that it was over. All that mental shifting… all that planning… all that excitement and wonder and hope and anticipation… it was gone so quick I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Like it never happened. Life could have gone on just as it had before. Only it couldn’t. Not a chance. Everything had changed. Only I felt I had nothing to show for it. We had grown up and taken a huge breath of courage and stepped forward in commitment to each other and this new baby… and were left standing with our hands open and empty. And our hearts so much more than a little bit crushed.
What’s amazing is that as I type these words… I can feel myself wanting to skip over parts. Having to go back and fill in more little details, because I’m still trying to avoid telling the story, even as I tell it. And as I write, I can feel the emotions that I’m typing. Which is possibly why I’ve been stalling continuing. Who wants to relive this stuff?! What crazy head feels the need to tell this story almost two years after the fact. After time has passed, and a lovely marriage to the man in the story, and a beautiful baby boy born healthy and gorgeous are part of the new story…
And I’ll talk about it a little more in one more wrap up post… but for now, I’ll just say this…
There’s something about having two people in my life that I love more than I ever thought possible. Two people who depend on me in such drastically different ways. Whose lives are so permanently intertwined with mine, that not a moment goes by where we are not affected by each other. Our lives, our contentedness and our spirits are nourished by each other. And this amazing and relatively new fact… makes me want to be to best version of myself that I can possibly muster up. For myself of course, but this new and seemingly stronger motivation is to be a model for my son, and a support for my husband. And as I’m trying to bring attention to every part of my life… I’m realizing that my best self… experiences every moment of her life, and listens to and learns from the heartbreaking times as well as the times of elation. I think that being present to even those moments we’d rather rush past, is a way of showing respect to this life we’ve been given. Of treasuring it. Of saying to God or the universe or whatever you believe plays a hand in the rhythm of our lives, “I’m not wasting it. I’m invested in every moment. From the mundane to the movie-worthy. I will be present. And I won’t be afraid of being seen.”