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Empty

I lay curled up on the bed, looking up into my husbands’ face.

“It’s leaving me, baby. It’s leaving me…”

“I know”, he said.

He crawled in next to me, placed his hand on my belly and whispered, “Goodbye…”

And we cried.

I cried the cry that comes up from your tailbone. The cry that hurts the arches of your feet. The cry that doesn’t stop. And when my eyeballs felt like they would fall out of my face, I cried some more.

My mother was in town, thank goodness, but I could hear my son calling for me in the living room.

There is nothing more emotionally confusing than entertaining one child, while physically feeling the one you were growing leave you.

The next day, the doctor confirmed what we already knew.

“I’m sorry, your uterus is empty.”

It was a clean miscarriage, I would not need any kind of removal procedure.

I have never seen an ultrasound without a baby in it. It looked exactly how she said… empty.

“Not even two months along.”

“Not really a baby yet…”

“A collection of cells gone wrong…”

But it was a baby to us.

We made it on purpose. We made it out of hope.

My husband had already started whispering “I love you” to my belly.

My son was already patting my tummy and saying, “Baby in there.”

We made space for it in our lives.

And now that space is empty.

And I feel it. I physically feel it… missing.

My almost-baby.

We will heal.

We will try again.

But right now, I sit here…

just empty.

*****

I’ve just gotten my first period since the loss, and the sight of the blood has me reeling a little.

Thanks, Band – for being here.

Finding My Faith

*I know that not everyone out there is a Christian and I hope that nobody will take offense to this post. My faith is a very personal thing, but it helps me get through so much. My prayer is that everyone dealing with a life crisis will find something that will bring them peace and hope, whether it’s faith in God, faith in humanity, or faith in herself.

When I wrote about my miscarriages and TTC journey, it was the hardest piece I’d ever written. What I left out, though, was the behind the scenes issues. The emotions that I’m still ashamed of feeling. That probably sounds stupid. I mean, you can’t help how you feel about things so why feel shame? Well, it’s been six years and I still do, so I guess I can’t answer that.

When Jordan and I decided to start trying to get pregnant, we didn’t broadcast it, but we also didn’t hide it when people asked. And people did ask. We’d been married over a year at that point, and apparently that’s the time that everyone from your grandma to the cashier at the grocery store deems you ready to have a child. But when we realized we would need a little help expanding our family, we clamped our mouths shut. Our families and closest friends were the only people who knew what we were going through. But when we got that first positive test, we told everyone! I’ve never been the best at keeping my feelings under wraps and we were thrilled.

A few days before I got that positive test, my sister-in-law gave me the news that her sister-in-law was pregnant. I was pretty discouraged at that time thinking that the round of Clomid I had just finished had not worked. But here was this girl (who I love dearly, BTW) who had become pregnant accidentally. It hardly seemed fair.

But then I found out that the Clomid had actually done its job and all was right with the world again. I could be happy for my sister-in-law sister-in-law-in-law sister-in friend, if a little worried for her. After all, my faith had always dictated that “everything happens for a reason.” But then it all changed.

During the few days that encompassed the fateful ultrasound experience and gut-wrenching D&C, I lost more than my baby. I lost my faith.

I left the hospital a bitter, heartbroken person that I no longer recognized. I was angry at the world. I was angry at God. I didn’t go to church. I didn’t pray. I didn’t even sing; something that has always been my solace. For three months I was in this dark pit. Every time someone who didn’t know would ask about the pregnancy and we had to break the news again, I sank further.

At that time, I worked for an agency that provided low-income housing. It seemed like every other day I encountered another woman who was expecting yet another child that she couldn’t afford. All these women around me were getting pregnant so easily, some while actively trying to prevent it, and having the healthy babies that I wanted so badly. I couldn’t understand why I was being treated so unfairly. I couldn’t bring myself to go to the baby shower for my brother-in-law’s sister. Every time I saw a pregnant woman I would cry.

It kills me to finally admit those things. There are very few people in this world that I’ve told about that dark time. I still feel guilty for being so angry. But if my first miscarriage caused me to lose my faith, my second one brought me back.

My second miscarriage happened on a Saturday morning. I was in the ER for a few hours then sent home. The next day at our church was Youth Sunday. I hadn’t been to church in three months at that point, but Jordan’s best friend, David, was delivering the message that day, so I insisted on being there. Not many people at church had known I was pregnant that time, so we didn’t really have to talk about the loss.

Something happened that Sunday morning, though. The youth members all did a great job with their testimonies, prayers, and music. David delivered a beautiful message. And then the youth sang a song to tie it all together – Here I Am Lord. I had heard the song a hundred times before. I had sung it about half that many times. But that day, I actually listened to it. It suddenly spoke to my heart in a way I had never felt before. Thank God we were sitting in the balcony so the whole congregation didn’t see me burst into tears.

I suddenly was at peace. After being angry for so long, it was an incredible feeling to let go of it. In that moment I knew that, like Abraham and Sarah, we would eventually have a child. And that there was a reason for my losses. I knew that it was going to fall to me at some point to support others going through it.

I was able to do just that several months later when my best friend had her first miscarriage. I’ve reached out to others as well – old high school friends on Facebook, a friend at church, etc. It’s what I hope to accomplish by contributing to this site. It also sort of paved the way for me to do the same thing as soon as I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2008. Since then I’ve found myself in something of an online support network of people living with chronic illness. Without that moment of clarity, I’m convinced I would still be that bitter person. I’m sure that the RA diagnosis would have been much worse than it was, emotionally speaking. I honestly don’t know how I would have made it through either of my full-term pregnancies, much less through a certainty of life-long pain, had I not had that renewal of faith.

I didn’t tell anyone about what happened to me that day until a few months ago when Jordan and I had the privilege to see David ordained. I figured that was probably the right time to tell him about the impact he had on me that Sunday so long ago. Today, my relationship with God is the most important thing to me. Through Him, I can do anything. There are days when I just need a nudge and there are days when I’m forced to ask Him to carry me. And I’ve come to realize that everything truly does happen for a reason, even if that reason isn’t revealed during this earthly life. But the choices we make when facing hardship will usually go a long way to reaching that revelation.

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:31

Curve Balls

When I was 18, I miscarried twins.  It still hurts.  It hurts even more that my husband doesn’t seem to understand.  They were his babies too.  I don’t know if he cares and just doesn’t show it or if there’s something wrong with me that I just can’t let it go. Should I still cry at baby product advertisements and while writing these posts?

I wish I knew.

We’ve been married for almost four years now.  We decided early this year, around my husband’s birthday, that after Christmas 2010 we’d start trying for a baby.  We had a house, we were both settled in our jobs and had a stable income, and the time felt ‘right’.  I’ve wanted a baby so badly since the miscarriages that it hurts.

So a few weeks ago, I made an appointment with my doctor (who seems to be perpetually on vacation) for next week, to discuss removing my IUD, going on the pill and to find out if I need to find alternatives for any of my current medication.

Last week I lost my job.  Cutbacks.  Laying off those of us making barely minimum wage while they give the executives five-figure bonuses and hire six-figure middle-managers.  I work – worked – in payroll, I see the numbers.

No job means barely enough money to pay the bills.

No job means no baby.

It feels like my husband doesn’t care.

It feels like my heart is breaking all over again.

Triggers And TV Shows

Tonight, I was sitting in my room, sick with the flu watching the season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy with my husband. I love this show. I was so excited to watch it.

What I forgot, of course, was the way last season ended.  I hate that I have to brace myself for these things, that I have to avoid this – but tonight I was unexpectedly punched in the stomach.  I was blind-sided by seeing a woman lying in a hospital bed with her legs up in stirrups on television about to get a D&C.

I lost it.

I cried.

My husband held me without me having to say a word.

He knew.

I hate that I know I am going to have nightmares again tonight. I get them often and tonight I know they will come.

Painful.

Real.

Nightmares.

I hate that something as silly as a television show triggers them.

I have not healed from these 10 miscarriages. I don’t know if I ever will fully. I am tired of the pain but I know I have to feel it.

I just wish it wasn’t so hard.

Pregnancy By The Numbers

I hate math.

But lately, I’m obsessed with numbers.

It’s been 112 days since I got my first positive pregnancy test.

And it’s been 60 days since I had to have a D&C to remove the baby that didn’t thrive.

My period should arrive in 2 days.

But I’m waiting 5 days to test, because I promised a friend we’d test together.

She’s gone through this too.

I’m constantly counting days, averaging them out, marking my calendars, and keeping track.  Who knew trying to get pregnant would become my new full-time job?  I spent so much time trying not to get pregnant, and now that I want to?  Well, so far, it hasn’t been easy.

A friend of mine is due the day before I was.  It kills me to know this.  All the other February mommies are finding out the sexes of their babies, marveling at their growing bellies, buying clothes, furniture, and picking out names.

And I’m back at square one, thinking about things like mucous levels and peeing on sticks.

Trying to get pregnant is so sexy.

So here I sit.  This week could change things forever.

Or not.

I hate waiting…

I Should Be A Mother

I should be a mother.

I’m not.

I got pregnant at 18.  My boyfriend (now husband) and I hadn’t been together long – it was a long-distance relationship, and the two months he spent visiting me that summer were the first time we’d been together face-to-face, the first time we’d gotten intimate without a phone or keyboard or webcam involved.

It wasn’t until he left to go back home, after plans had been made for me to visit his family at Christmas, during my winter break, that we found out I was pregnant. And not exactly in the best way possible. I was on the pill, and my period had been almost non-existent thanks to the contraceptives.  I started bleeding and cramping.  So get thee to the doctor, young Anne, where I had the fright of my life.

That I was miscarrying was shocking enough – I was on the pill!  That I was still pregnant after that was even more so.  Twins run in both of our families.  My boyfriend and I flailed around, tried to make plans and decide what to do – we were 18!  Living in different countries!  Both in school!  What would we tell our parents?!  Nothing, it turned out.

I miscarried the first at around five weeks, and the second four weeks later.

Intellectually, it was a relief.  I was 18, in university, no job, living with my parents and siblings, my partner lived in another country… a baby was the last thing I needed.

But oh, how I wanted it. Far more after I lost them both than while I was still pregnant. A pregnant woman or small baby would bring me to tears.  I was a wreck for weeks afterward (I’m still surprised my mother never seemed to figure out something was wrong) and ended up withdrawing from university and entering a modern apprenticeship at a daycare.  Which was even more agonizing, though I loved working with the children.

I gave that up after six months (and trouble with both the senior daycare staff who (illegally) treated me like a cleaner and the ‘adviser’ for my apprenticeship work forgetting to meet with me and holding our meetings in front or the co-workers who were breaking the law so I couldn’t SAY anything) and moved to office work, which is where I’ve been since. Fewer babies and pregnant women.

It’s been six years, but it still hurts.  I cry at baby product advertisements on the TV.  I sobbed for hours after reading some of the posts here on Band Back Together.  I watch children on the bus and on the street.  I wonder what my babies would have been like.  I brush off co-workers’ and in-laws’ questions about when we’re planning to start a family with a flip comment about having plenty of time.

I don’t tell them that I should have twin five-year-olds.

It still hurts.  I sometimes wonder if it will ever stop.