Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Sisterhood Nobody Wants to be a Part of: SGW

Lydia here. One of my very dear mommy friends wrote this rant about having a miscarriage. I asked her to do it because she is someone who's brave enough to be honest about the total suckfest that is losing a baby. And we all know how often it happens. And yet, we don't talk about it much because it's just so awful and sad.  When she told me about what happened to her, she was honest and real and she had me simulatenously sniffling and cracking up. So I asked her to please write a rant about her experience.

Because you know what? We are built strong, mommies. Like, Ford Tough. And life is sometimes very hard indeed. And our resiliency can be measured by our ability to laugh at life's absurdities and appreciate each moment of happiness we're lucky enough to get - even if it's slightly inappropriate or has to do with beavers.

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We found out we were pregnant in July. Isn’t it funny how couples say WE are pregnant? That’s just about when it ends, though. You don’t really hear anyone say, “WE feel like we are going to throw up here at Five Guys ” or “OUR boobs really hurt because they are so ginormous”. Well, in our case WE found out we were pregnant. We were on our way to the beach and staying a few days at my parents’ house. So when the little stick said “oh, even yesser”, WE told our family, including the grandparents, brothers, sisters and most importantly, our precious little one, the divine Miss E. 

Miss E is seven years old.  So people have been wondering about us for a long time.  Are they going to have another? Can they have another? Do they want her to be an only child?  You know  - all of the precious and charming questions people might think but should never, ever say out loud.

When we got home from vacation I really started to feel the blissful effects of pregnancy. The nausea and tiredness kicked in. We went to the doctor and were so excited to see our first ultrasound to determine how far along WE were. Miss E even went to the appointment. It never even crossed our minds that everything would be anything less than perfect.
This is the point on VH-1’s Behind the Music when they say, “then it all came crashing down”.

We went in to the ultrasound room and the technician decided to greet us with a friendly statistic. Did you know that 1/3 of all pregnancies of women over 35 end in miscarriage? Wow. I am 36. Nice to meet you, too.  She started the ultrasound and due to my former career in veterinary medicine I could roughly read the scan. While pregnant with Miss E we scanned my belly at work so much it is a miracle she was born with only one head. But there it was-- a big black empty balloon. Yes. Empty.

So we decide to wait two weeks and do another scan. After all, we weren’t planning or trying and my record keeping is less than stellar. The whole ‘exact date of last menstrual cycle’ was more like I think it was right before the time we drank too much red wine… At this point all we thought that it was too early to see anything. And my pregnancy test was definitely positive.

Fast forward two weeks. Two very long weeks. We returned to the ultrasound room. The scan began and there it was. The big black empty balloon. Only now it was three times the original size. More space – filled with more empty.

This, my friends, is what is known as a blighted ovum. I know, I’d never heard of it either. Your body thinks you are pregnant and continues to “build the house” -- but nobody’s home. So then a decision has to be made - have surgery or wait. A miscarriage was inevitable but we didn’t know when or where (most likely in the aisle at Target). Surgery could be planned but required general anesthesia.

I chose to wait. And wait. And wait. Five weeks later, yes - five weeks later, I miscarried at home.
So how do you explain to your seven year old that contrary to all of the talk of the last month and a new t-shirt from Gymboree proclaiming “Big Sisters Rock”- that things have changed? We decided to use the words of that wise ultrasound tech. My body built the baby a nice house but it wasn’t the right house for the baby so it didn’t move in. I now know the reason why we have moved four times since 2006. She completely got it.  Oh. It wasn't the right house.  But she's a smart and intuitive kid.  Some other people didn’t quite get it. It's hard enough to talk about it and tell people what happened. Them not getting it doesn't make it easier. 

This experience has taught me many things. Like what not to say to someone who has suffered a miscarriage or lost a child:
  • “You already have sweet Miss E.”
  • “There will be other babies.”
  • “How soon can you try again?”

Really? I wanted to square up and kick some taco. It doesn’t matter if I had seven children (like my MIL, who surprisingly enough is not in the nervous hospital). I was sad because I lost THIS ONE. I thank God every day for my precious Miss E and my heart aches for anyone who has had to struggle with infertility but already having a child doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed a broken heart for what might have been. And how soon can I try again? Just jump right back on the errr.... horse. Seriously? I promised my Mom I wouldn’t use the F word in this post so I won’t but that is not a good question for someone who wants to avoid being punched in the face.

Since it happened, I have logged plenty of hours on Facebook and catching up on seasons of my favorite shows (conveniently living in my DVR) and have baked roughly 600 loaves of breads, cookies, and cupcakes. I have also spent plenty of time consulting the internet to find out why. Why did this happen? I eat organic. I cut caffeine the moment I found out. I spent my entire beach vacation reading Dr. Oz’s YOU: Having a Baby. I had a textbook perfect pregnancy with Miss E. I was not simply satisfied with my doctor’s explanation that these things just happen and they are common. What I found- they ARE common. There are so many women out there who have gone through this very painful experience. The sisterhood no one wants to be a part of.

Well, due to complications from an incomplete miscarriage—right, like it wasn’t bad enough- I am recovering from surgery now. The best part of that little bump in the road? Anesthesia and painkillers. And time enough for little things to remind me that I'm going to be OK again. As I sat crying on the couch having a pity party, my phone went off.  It was a photo text from my husband. Of a beaver fail.

And I couldn't stop laughing. And I knew that slowly, we would get through it.

The worst part of surgery? Four weeks of “pelvic rest”. The discharge nurse was going over all of the instructions with my husband before we left the hospital. She looked at him like she was going to shoot lasers from her eyes and said, “Do you understand what pelvic rest is”? He nodded. Then she turns to me and says- wait for it - “Nothing in your vagina for 4 weeks”.

Miss E was standing right next to me and turns and looks at me like…"WHUCK?!? You put things in it!?! What haven't you been telling me? Is it a storage facility or something?"
 I know we will have other children and but if not, it’s OK. I have Miss E and she is the light of my life. My husband Yeats is amazing- ask Lydia (tall, salt & peppered and handsome and cooks like the love child of Paula Deen and Emeril) and a wonderful family and amazing friends. To that I say, “CHEERS” and I can tap a T-box whenever I want (for now).

xo, Ella Bean
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UPDATE!!! 

Today is February 17, 2012. I am tearfully and joyfully typing these words: Ella Bean just had a healthy, chubby, adorable baby boy. They are well and happy. And all those who know them are thrilled and grateful this amazing day. I thought you'd want to know.

xo, Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

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