Monday, February 27, 2012

Gentle Reminders

As we approach our due date, March 11th, the roller coaster of emotions I felt back in September are flooding back. While I have accepted what happened and have grown from the experience it doesn't make it "easy." Everyone says "time heals all wounds" but I don't think that's necessarily true. With this experience, time does nothing but remind us where we could've been...2 weeks away from being Mommy and Daddy. (Yesterday would've marked the start of my 38th week.)

The day before my surgery, my husband and I had a talk about the emotions we felt as related to the situation we were facing. I was numb. I really couldn't function and did nothing but think and cry. My husband, on the other hand, was functional. He worked. He scheduled our appointments. He ate. He laughed. He comforted. He stayed strong. We had a discussion on September 8th about the difference in emotion between his coping and mine. While we were both devastated, I explained to him that, as a woman, my pain was a different pain. I do not believe I was more hurt or more saddened by the news but I do believe the pain was more personal. I felt like my body had failed me (though we do not know if it was the sperm or the egg that caused the triploidy) and felt that I was a failure at the one thing nature says I'm supposed to be able to do...carry a healthy baby. I explained that he would not enter the hospital pregnant and leave not pregnant and told him about the emotions and fears related to that side of it. I reminded him that while this was happening to "us" it was physically only happening to me. He understood. Yesterday we had a similar discussion.

Every year we take our godson to the circus. It's wonderful and we always have a blast (minus yesterday when a gentleman behind me fell and poured 4 large sodas on me.) Our godson spent the night on Saturday and had a wonderful time. We did crafts and played and watched movies. He helped me do laundry and feed the dog. By the time my husband came home from work our almost 5-year-old nephew was asleep on the couch. We woke up Sunday morning and took him to the circus and then spent the afternoon with our godson and his parents at their NJ home. On our way home, my husband looked at me and said "I'm excited to have a baby again. That was healing for my soul." I asked what he meant and he told me that watching our godson asleep on our couch just reminded him of what he wants. He said it was a healing visit and that he's excited to start again. That prompted, what else, tears. I started to cry as I thought about how far along I'd be and what a wonderful dad my husband will make. He didn't understand why I was crying and told me "I've come to terms with what happened."
"I have too" I told him. 

I then reminded him how different the pain is for me...not harder....but different. We had the same conversation in the car that we had sitting in McDonalds the day before my surgery. I too have come to terms with what happened, but I'm having a hard time right now as March 11th seems to be etched onto everything my eye sees or mind interprets. It's in every thought and I refuse to ignore it. Confronting my emotion is healthy and is the only way I'll get through this (oh, and blogging of course.)

I cry A LOT....maybe even more than I had been immediately after my surgery. I think I'm able to cry more now because I'm not numb anymore. I get it now. I've processed the pain and worked through the emotion, which makes my reactions now more intense. I'm back to crying at the drop of a hat but I know this too shall pass. I'll get sad around milestones, what would be our due date, my first mother's day, hubby's first father's day and probably at random points every year until I die. It comes with the territory of being a family who has lost a baby. We'll continue to have open discussions, to lean on each other and to love through the pain. We'll continue to confront our pain and we'll do it together. It's hard now but I know someday our talks will focus more around our precious baby than our precious angel. That gets me through the hard days.

Side note: This ultrasound bill in PA that is going to force women to take ultrasound pictures with them after an appointment before an abortion is disgusting. The fact that the bill mandates that technicians point the monitor toward the woman is appalling. I am thankful EVERY DAY that I did not see my precious baby the day before our surgery. I am thankful EVERY DAY that I had the RIGHT to choose what was best for me, my family AND my baby.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

No Turning Back Now

This blog began as my way of dealing with my emotions. After we had to terminate the pregnancy I was feeling way out of control. I was feeling every emotion you could possibly imagine. I was helpless, confused, resentful, hopeless, ashamed, angry, sad, indifferent, surprised, raging, panicky, jealous, hateful and happy (yes, at times.) My period of emotional healing is still going on but I'm better able to cope now. I've come to terms with what happened and have accepted that this was the hand we were dealt. We played it the best way WE could and I am confident in our decision. I have no regrets and believe this happened to me so that I could help other women going through this terrible pain.

In sharing my story, at first only with friends, I learned that many of my loved ones had experienced a similar loss. One friend even shared that she discovered her first baby had the same disorder as our angel, full triploidy. (She now has a beautiful happy and healthy baby boy.) One friend shared that she had 7 rounds of IVF before giving birth to her beautiful son but had suffered through a miscarriage. Can you imagine? I was in shock. The doctors give you the statistics that 1 in 6 pregnancies end in miscarriage, but it's not a real statistic until it impacts you or those you love. Aside from shock, I was thankful. I was thankful that these amazing women felt comfortable enough to share with me. The women I mentioned both now have beautiful baby boys. Their stories gave me hope that someday I too may realize my dream of becoming a mommy. When we first lost the baby the thought of ever having another child, or even thinking of having another child, was the furthest thing from my mind. NO WAY was I going to go through this again. Now, having accepted and embraced my experience, I am excited at the thought of peeing on a stick sometime soon to discover two lines.

As my healing continued, I began to share my story more publicly. I joined a Facebook support group and then a few more. I shared my story and my blog. I have received such amazing feedback and such phenomenal support that I want to take my story "on the road." I have heard from way too women about how they've been made to feel shame about having to make such a difficult decision. Plain and simple, that is wrong. No woman should have to deal with the emotional roller coaster of losing a baby in addition to feeling ashamed or wrong. It's proof of gross ignorance. I have been involved in many pro-choice vs. pro-life online debates and have tried to give my point of view, as based on my personal experience. Many pro-lifers (not all) simply argue that abortion is wrong and women should just use birth control or should just put the baby up for adoption. It's not always that simple and who are you to judge anyone for a personal decision that does not impact you at all? It's not fair. What gives you the right to push shame on another person?

I've been called baby killer, evil, devil, monster and every other name you can imagine. At first it hurt...because I was feeling like all of those things. I felt like a monster. I felt wrong. I felt evil. Now, I feel confident. I feel proud. I am thankful to live in a country that affords me the opportunity, and gives me the right, to make decisions about my reproductive health. I am honored to have the freedom to share my story with the hopes of reaching out to women are feeling everything I felt, and maybe more. I am appreciative of everyone who is willing to listen and am so genuinely thankful for your unconditional support. You are my strength.

So, why is this post titled "No Turning Back Now"? I have now made my story public. I have contacted someone who has the power to take this "fight" public. You have all told me how strong I am. Five months ago I thought you were crazy. Today, I know you're right. Maybe this hand was dealt to me because a higher power knows I have the support, love and confidence to get through it. I want to share that with as many women as I can. If that means telling my story in a public arena, so be it. I'm on a mission and hope that you'll join me along the way.

for ALL of your words of encouragement, hugs of compassion and notes of inspiration.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What's Love Got to do with It???

Happy Valentine's Day.

Valentine's Day has been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember. I just love the idea behind taking one day out of 365 to focus on the people who mean the most to you. Some of you are already rolling your eyes (yes, I can see you) and are probably saying something like, "you shouldn't just show love one day a year." To you, I say stop rolling your eyes, I agree with a point.

So many people make fun of Valentine's Day. You'll hear people (usually single people) say, " it's a Hallmark holiday and its too commercial. It's just a way to guilt people into buying stuff they don't need to prove to someone that they love them." Now I'm rolling my eyes because you're wrong. Valentine's Day is so much more than a chocolate heart and a greeting card.

Life is busy, no question about it. We go through a 40 hour work week (on average) to get to the weekend that seems to last a total of 10 hours. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of every day life and forget what's most important. It's easy to come home from work and just want to veg out in front of a computer or TV. Those of you with kids know how easy it is to come home, kiss your partner hello and then focus on family time  with games, baths, dinner and homework. After all of that comes the clean up and the preparation for tomorrow, packing lunches, cleaning up and finally giving yourself a rest. Once the kids are in bed, it's time to just chill. It's okay to take time for you, even if it means putting yourself before the one you love. It doesn't make you a bad partner or person, it makes you human. And this is why days like Valentine's Day are so important.

To me, Valentine's Day isn't about the sweetest card or the most expensive piece of jewelry. It's about that one day, early in the year, to make you stop and remember those you love. It's about taking day in February to focus your attention on the person that keeps you smiling through the rough times, laughing through the good times and loving through all of the times. Valentine's Day is about taking a moment to reflect on the who and the what in your life make you the happiest. It's a day to give instead of receive.

Today, coming home from work, I saw so many men and women with flowers, balloons and gifts. It was a sweet scene as I imagined these people going home to their families and smiling, laughing and loving. My hope for each of those people, and for you, is that today simply acts as a reminder that there is no wrong day to show your love. Does it mean that today is the only day you should shower your partner, your friends and your family with love? Absolutely not. In fact, it meant more to me three weeks ago when my hubby came home with a Skor bar, just because, than it did to go out to dinner last night. I would be your partner would say the's the little things, the random things, that bring the biggest smiles.

Use today to remember how special you felt when your partner said that extra I love you, whether today or three months ago. Reflect on the warmth you felt when you got that homemade gift from your kid, whether today or 6 months ago. Acknowledge the effort your partner made in preparing your favorite meal or planning your perfect date, whether today or six week ago. Thank your parents or friends or babysitter for giving you "the night off" so you could be a couple instead of parents, whether tonight or last year. I challenge you to celebrate your love day in/day out and year in/year out.

Valentine's Day is about sharing love...not sharing gifts. 
Hallmark only wins if you let them. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Marking A Milestone

My boss is exactly four weeks behind where I would be if I were still pregnant. (She is due April 6th and I was due March 11th.) It was so exciting to think that we'd be going through this journey together as we welcomed our first babies just weeks apart. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be for me. Thankfully, she has had a wonderful pregnancy (though not always smooth and easy) and is feeling great. Baby boy is growing and thriving and I love hearing her updates after her weekly appointments. As I said in an earlier blog, I love my boss. She is wonderful, not just as a boss but also as a friend. She and her husband are going to be wonderful parents and I'm genuinely thrilled for their happy addition to arrive.

Today at work, we threw her baby shower. When we first floated the idea, I was nervous. Would I be able to do it knowing by now I would've had mine? I didn't know but I knew I had to try; she deserves it. I've grown more comfortable with her growing belly and have finally stopped staring at it with jealousy. (Which she kindly never let me know she noticed.) The party started off well...we ate and ate and ate. Following the food, it was time for her to open her gifts. Uh oh. I could feel my emotions starting to build so I decided to put myself to work. I didn't want to run away and I knew if I assigned myself photographer I'd have to stick it through.

She began opening her gifts and I was doing okay. If you know me, you know I LOVE Elmo. (I used to collect all things Elmo.) Well, the 2nd gift she opened was an adorable little Elmo robe with booties. TOO CUTE! I was a little jealous but not in a sad way! I was proud; I was making it through my first baby shower experience since losing my baby. She kept opening and she got really wonderful things. There was only one time I teared up and I was able to keep it unnoticeable and completely under control. She was opening clothes and held up a onesie that said Daddy's Rock Star. I started to think about my husband and how much he was looking forward to being a dad. I knew he'd be thrilled to see his baby wearing that onesie as he's very into music. (He plays guitar and would love a to play to his own Daddy's Rock Star.) I caught myself starting to space out and my mind immediately filled with thoughts of our loss. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and powered through it.

I know it may seem silly to blog about this or to call it a milestone. That's okay. I feel wonderful and am really proud. I feel like today I took a major step toward getting back to a greater normalcy. Every day I make small amounts of progress. Though I will never forget our experience or our first baby, I am anxious to get back to "normal," whatever our new normal may be.

Today made me happy. I am happy that I got through it with a smile. I am happy that I could share in her special day. I am happy that I know she'll be there for me, in the same way, whenever my time comes.

I cannot wait to meet her baby boy and hold him and spoil him. Congrats JRoc.