Saturday, November 12, 2016

Experiencing an Early Pregnancy Loss

Hey my dears. It's been a while since I've typed on this blog. In the months since I last posted, we've continued to settle into our house and making it our home, enjoy college football Saturdays, and have been over the moon with our Cubbies winning the World Series. We traveled the past two weekends to Chicago to see the Cubs in the World Series (and ended up snagging tickets to the great turn-around game 5!) and a great trip to Lake Tahoe, which have been good distractions from the heartbreak I'm sharing with you today.

It's been a few weeks now since I typed the words below and I'm at a place ready to share them. My purpose for sharing this is to help other mamas know they aren't alone. 

 - - - 

The words I'm typing today are sad and being the midst of it, I may not have the best way of sharing where my heart is at. But I will try. And please know, this is just my story - every woman feels different going through this, and that is okay! I do feel it's important to talk about and will help me process this season too. And, I pray it might somehow help others who have had a similar experience or may encounter it someday to know they aren't alone. 

So here it goes - I was pregnant, then very early on in the pregnancy, I experienced a miscarriage. It was confusing, scary and heartbreaking along with other emotions I'm still processing. Our emotions went from excitement from finding out we were expecting our first little babe, to a few days later becoming concerned when I experienced more bleeding and cramping than I felt was "normal". After monitoring my bloodwork a few times this past week, a midwife was able to confirm the news I was preparing myself to hear - that I did experience a miscarriage. 

Here's the story from the beginning: I had known I was pregnant before getting the positive pregnancy test because of my symptoms. I had the dizziness (I felt like I was sea sick), cravings, nausea, food aversions, had to pee every hour, bad headaches, sore breasts (I didn't expect that!) and all that. A pregnancy test confirmed for us after over a week of those symptoms that I was indeed pregnant. In that moment, the first time experiencing a positive pregnancy test, my mind jumped to thinking how our lives were about to change. Picturing a nursery in our home, calculating which times of year I'd be most pregnant, and yes, baby names started rolling through my mind as I daydreamed about what the next 9 months had in store. A few short days later though, I had a little spotting (which can be normal I read) but a few more days later, I had more bleeding with worsening cramping.  After I had been bleeding and cramping consistently for a day though friends, I got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and my pregnancy symptoms were gone. It hit me right then, I told Nick as I crawled back into bed that I didn't feel pregnant anymore, and in my heart, I knew I was losing the pregnancy. A few short days later, a midwife's blood testing confirmed the news.  

I've shed tears as I came to understand that the would-be due date on June 14th will no longer bring us a baby, though I also know in my heart that my grief would likely be so much deeper had I been farther along in the pregnancy when it happened. I was just 6 weeks along, and we "knew" about the pregnancy for less than two weeks. The miscarriage was confirmed just one week to the day after we had the positive pregnancy test. 

I've talked with some of my best friends this week who have unfortunately experienced the same loss. Some were at 8 weeks and 12 weeks when they experienced their loss. To be honest, I believe in my heart that if I had spent 6 more weeks preparing and planning for this baby, my heart would be even more broken as it is today. And this is just me. It helps me to be honest with myself. Everyone in this position grieves differently, and the thing I've learned, is you have to allow yourself to feel sad when you feel sad - that's okay and healthy. I also know the husband and wife may grieve their loss differently too, and communication between us has been important to understand each other. 

I have also been so blessed by my friends this week. One friend talked to me for over an hour on Wednesday when I came home from work feeling scared with bleeding and cramping. We shared our stories, and she gave me advice. She also just listened and let me process it out loud. Oh how that was good for my heart. I'm a communicator and I need to talk things through to process them. Other sweet friends have been checking on me, messaging with me and helping me know it's okay to feel sad and grieve this loss. One sweet co-worker brought me this beautiful rose plant I plan to plant in our garden. I love that it's a perennial and would be so neat if I can help it keep growing. People coming alongside me in this have made me know all will be okay, and have helped the healing process so much. 

Telling my parents was a really hard thing. Let's be honest, as their only child, I had always dreamed of the joy of telling my parents they were going to be grandparents. I had even started looking online for the best ideas to share the good news with them. It broke my heart to fill them in on the sad news about our first pregnancy, but I knew they would want to know.  As much as I wanted to hold any news for the big day we had great news to share, this was part of our story now and I knew they would want to walk through it with us. Plus, I needed them as part of my support system too. God paints beautiful stories and I have learned through ups and downs in my life, that He is faithful, loving, and cares for me every minute of every day. I trust Him with our future and know He is good. 

I won't go into all of the details about the range of emotions at doctor appointments this week (because it was stressful and made this week even worse), however I will say that the first health provider I saw wasn't helpful or considerate, and I was so grateful for wise advice to seek another opinion to get answers. The first nurse practitioner didn't believe I was even pregnant which was very hurtful in the midst of my body telling me I was experiencing a miscarriage. 

I found a midwife at a different practice that was so loving, compassionate, and patient. My heart needed someone who was an expert in this area, to walk me through this and help me understand what my body had going on. After running blood tests to see how my hCG level was changing, she was able to confirm for me that I was pregnant and did experience a miscarriage a few short weeks after the fertilization happened. She had a patient sweet way about her, sweeping me under her wing to say she's on my side and help me know how to move forward. She also reassured me that it happens in 10-20% of pregnancies and that it doesn't increase the chances if it happening again. She also helped me get some closure about what happened so we could begin to move forward. 

This is one of the few photos of me while I was actually pregnant and it is a sweet reminder if the teeny tiny life that existed for a few weeks. Of course, I wasn't showing a baby bump of any kind that early, but knowing he or she was there in this photo is a neat thing. 

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Now that a few more weeks have passed since I wrote the words above, I will be honest to say there are tough moments of seeing families with lots of kids, and thinking of so many mamas where each pregnancy has seemed to lead to a healthy baby. I am truly happy for others sharing their pregnancy announcements for example, yet also in my heart, I feel the tinge of sadness, knowing that would have been my announcement soon if I were still carrying the baby. Thinking "why couldn't my first pregnancy have been successful", and praying to not let worries about not being able to carry a pregnancy successfully take hold in my mind. I know the enemy wants to take any joys in the future about this season of life away, and we will combat it with God.  

I remembered a few years ago when I learned about the Bates family, that Erin Paine had troubles with miscarriages. I looked into her story again recently, and found comfort in how she walked through that season of life. Soon after getting married, she experienced 3 heartbreaking miscarriages. Then, they realized she had a blood clotting disorder and treated her before and during her next pregnancies, and she has two healthy babies now. Also learning about miscarriages in my birth mother's family somehow brought comfort for me to not worry, knowing they had healthy babies after their losses. So all of these things have brought me reassurance to not worry. I'm so grateful to others who have bravely shared their stories. They have been healing words to my heart, truly. 

Lastly, I also reflect back to the Sunday night a few weeks ago when I laid in bed in tears, feeling so sad about the loss of our first pregnancy, wishing the little baby was still growing inside me. One week later to the minute, we sat inside of Wrigley stadium, and cheered on our Cubbies as they won their first World Series game at Wrigley since 1945. It was the game they turned around the series and went on to win the first WS since 1908 (as I'm sure you've heard ;)). In those moments, even though it might sound silly, I was truly reminded that the Lord knows the desires of our hearts and has the best plans for us. I'm grateful I could feel His presence telling me everything is going to be okay. 

Hugs and love to you mamas who have walked this path before. It's many more of you than I would have thought, and I thank you for sharing your hearts and how you walked through it too. I am SO grateful for you all and pray over each of you who read these words. 

Today's Pinspiration:
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