Time Heals All Wounds (and Other Stupid Cliches)

Today marks a full week since my miscarriage. Seven days. 168 hours. 10,080 minutes. It doesn’t matter how you want to measure it, time since then feels like arbitrary numbers. In one sense, the intensity of the pain makes it feel like yesterday. Even the number seven feels too big. And in another, I feel like I have been heartbroken for so long that 10,080 doesn’t even begin to capture it. 

I want to start off by saying that I know the statistics. I know around 15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. This means that, dear readers, more than a handful of you have first hand knowledge of what I am going through. I know that my story is no more special than any of yours, but as I am the author of this blog, I am going to tell it as I am living it. It may be very similar or quite different from your experience. To be honest, I hesitated to even write a post like this because I did not want it to seem like I think my loss is any more significant than anyone else’s. As I have stated from the beginning, I don’t know if I am “doing this right”. 

But since you’re here to read my story, here it goes. The last seven days have been….hell. I don’t know how else to say it. In the last week, I have successfully made it through one day without crying. It hits me at the strangest times: in the middle of dinner, when I am staring at myself in the mirror doing my makeup. Sometimes it stops as abruptly as it began, and sometimes I cry until I am dry heaving. Part of this, I know, is hormones. Within the last ten days, I have been pregnant, lost the baby, and completed another cycle of fertility drugs. I am trying to be kind to my body. I know she’s dealing with a lot and doing the best she can. 

However, if I’m being totally honest, I’m still pretty angry with her. I still want to write a “To Whom it May Concern” letter to my uterus. I want to demand an answer to why she betrayed me. It figures that I would get the uterus that slept through class the day “fertilized egg implantation” was covered. *insert eye roll*

In addition to the soul-crushing sadness and irrational anger, I also feel weirdly responsible. I know in my hodge-podge of emotions, this is the ridiculous one. While the rational side of me sees this, it still doesn’t prevent it. This sense of responsibility has driven me insane. I have become obsessed with “what did I do?” and “what didn’t I do?” Am I taking the right supplements? Am I taking too many supplements? I recently read that you want to keep your uterus warm during the two week wait to aid in implantation. According to Eastern Medicine, in order to do this, you need to keep your feet warm. So now I’m stressing out if I wore warm enough socks. I literally cannot make this up. 

Earlier, I mentioned the 15% statistic. That’s true for normal healthy women. For my condition, the rate is closer to 50%. Enter one more emotion: FEAR. I know I wear a bracelet everyday that says “Fearless”. This week, that bracelet has been a lie. Total bullshit. I am scared to death that this could happen again. And again. 

The other bracelet says “Strength”. This one is less of a lie, because I know that even if it does happen again, I’ll survive and try again, just like I am doing now. And the last bracelet is why: Hope. 

I finished the drugs for this cycle last night. So now I wait…and hope… that they again induce ovulation so that we can try again this month. 

So, in answer to the big question: How am I doing? I am okay. And I am not okay. It depends on the minute. I do know, however, that I will be okay. At the end of this road, whenever that may be, and whatever the outcome, I will know that I gave it everything I had. Literal blood, sweat, and tears. 

I also know, I am nowhere near the end yet.

(one. twenty-six. twenty-two)

I am no poem.

I don’t even know how to start this blog post. I should preface it with the fact that I do not think I am psychic. 

I titled my very first blog post (which I wrote before I decided to make this whole thing public): “The Magic of Three”. In it, I wrote about how things, as they often do, seemed to be happening in threes. The writer in me has always thought how very poetic it would be if the third cycle was the one in which I became pregnant. 

I was right. 

However, after the devastation I felt after the last cycle, I went into this one more cautious. Honestly, I felt uneasy the entire time. So many people kept telling me, “Third time’s the charm!” Every time I heard it, I immediately thought of that first blog post and how the writer in me would pen the book exactly that way. But, something in my gut told me this cycle wouldn’t end well. 

I was right. Again. 

Yesterday I was almost 5 weeks pregnant. 

Today I am nothing. 

I have waited 12 years to say those three words: I am pregnant. I barely got 24 hours with them. They still felt foreign on my tongue. But now, like the baby, they are gone. I am miscarrying. Or is it past tense? I have miscarried. I am currently bleeding and cramping and crying so many tears I have thrown up. So, it feels pretty damn present tense. 

I don’t even know what else to say. I could tell you all about the roller coaster this cycle has been. But, honestly, the heartbreak has stolen my eloquence, so I will give you the cliff notes version. 

Last Thursday was the end of my two week wait, and my pregnancy test was negative. I was crushed. I took one again on Friday, and didn’t even look at it closely. I saw one line, threw it on the counter and asked my husband to take me out for fajitas to get my mind off of it. 

On Saturday morning, I was straightening up the house and picked up the test to put it away and noticed a faint line. (Wait?? What???) Immediately, I retested, and saw a definite line. Still faint, but it was there. I retested again on Sunday and the line had grown even darker. 

Monday morning’s test seemed to be lighter, and, since the test measures your hormone level, I immediately feared something was wrong. I called the doctor and he had me come in for blood work right away. I spent all day Monday and Tuesday morning in this pregnancy purgatory, not knowing how to feel. 

Tuesday morning my doctor called me and said I was clearly pregnant (!!!), but my numbers were low. He wanted to restest again tomorrow morning (which is today) and see if they were going up (which would be good), or down (indication of miscarriage). 

I knew a miscarriage was possible last night, but I also knew one thing for certain: I was pregnant. And in that moment, that was all that mattered. 

This morning I woke up with a sense of dread, but I had my blood work done at the fertility clinic and then went about my day, trying (unsuccessfully) to think of anything else. Midafternoon, I got the call. And, as if the universe planned it, I started bleeding mere minutes before the phone rang. 

And here I am three hours later, sitting at my computer writing, because it’s the only way I know how to cope with the pain I am feeling. 

I am sorry there is nothing poetic about this post. 

Justin, I am sorry my body continues to fail us. I really am trying so damn hard. 

I have had people tell me over the last few days that I should look for the glimmer of hope that at least my body is able to become pregnant now. I’m going to be honest, right now as I sit here typing this, I can’t see that ray of sunshine. It doesn’t make this one bit easier. But I know tomorrow I will wake up and it will still be there, and I hope I can see it then. I have an appointment in the morning to start the next cycle of drugs. Since I have to start them while I am still bleeding, there is (literally) no rest for the weary. 

If there is anything I have learned from life, it is that nothing works out the way you expect it. Life is not a poem. So maybe there is something about the 4th try. Maybe the “un-poetic-ness” of it will be the good luck that I need. 

(one. nineteen. twenty-two)

#TenYearChallenge

#TenYearChallenge. 

Open Facebook and tell me your news feed isn’t full of these posts. The idea behind it is beautiful. But, I am going to be honest. When this trend first started, it almost made me want to “quit the Facebook.” 

It took me a very long time to see the beauty of this trend. Every time I opened the app, here is what I saw: 

  • Here’s us as love drunk newly weds, and here we are with our 8 year old at Disney World. 
  • Here’s me living the single life. Look at me now–married with our two babies and cute Golden Retriever in the middle of a sunflower field.
  • Look how little our babies were. Now, they’re so grown up and driving! 

You get the point. Each and every post made me feel more and more…. “stuck”. Nevertheless, I started looking back at pictures, trying to find one, just in case I felt like jumping on the bandwagon. This didn’t help matters. Not only did these decade-old photos remind me of my “bang” phase, but they also served as a painful reminder that my guest rooms have never been converted to a nursery. 

I felt like nothing had changed. And I was embarrassed. 

But then I started thinking about 30-year-old Stephanie. While I love her (and those unfortunate bangs and boot-cut jeans), I am glad I am no longer her. Or no longer just her. Like Russian nesting dolls, I have added so many layers to the person I am. 

Thirty-year-old Stephanie was also going through fertility drugs (for the second time), but she was largely doing it alone. She was perpetually worried about what others thought of her, and she was far too ashamed of her inability to have children to really let anyone in. This Stephanie did A LOT of pretending. Pretending to be okay. Pretending to be happy. (Not to say that I wasn’t happy. I am not so tragic to say that I haven’t known happiness. I have. Undoubtedly. I am incredibly lucky. This fact has never been in question.)

When I look in the mirror today, two months from turning 40 (eek!), I am damn proud of who I have become. I am confident in who I am as a woman and as a human. I am more complex, but I communicate better. I am more empathetic. I am open to sharing my story. I find encouragement in the support of my family and friends. To put it simply, I let others love me and I love them right back. 

There are certain things that will never go away. I still cry in the shower. I still feel the guilt of holding the responsibility for my husband being childless. I still get my feelings hurt from callous remarks.  I still think about what it would be like to be a mother every single day. I just like to think I do it with a little more grace. 

So, I may not have a trendy social media post that spotlights a growing family. But, through the adversity that I have faced, and in the bone marrow that makes me who I am… I have grown–at least a decade’s worth.  And I’m not going to let my embarrassment make me “quit the Facebook.” 

(one. ten. twenty-two)