How an Infant Saves my Life

Everyday I wake up at six o’clock in the morning with a big smile on my face (though if you ask my husband he may let you know its a figurative smile because I hate mornings) because I get paid every day to do my favorite thing in the world. I get to spend time with a little 4 month old baby.

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My daily routine everyday is driving to work singing along to my favorite oldies, being greeted as I walk in the door to a big gummy smile, feeding a very excited baby, followed by a two hour snuggly nap. I spend most of my week days soaking in perfect little giggles, smiles, and his newest trick – spit bubbles. It’s not all perfect of course, about thirty minutes every day total I spend with him crying, pooping, or spitting up me. But I love it all. He’s so perfect to me..

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This perfect little boy will never know this one thing though: every day when he smiles at me, giggles at my faces, or chews on his own little foot he saves me. He is the reason I never fall too deep into thoughts of giving up hope. Every time he reaches out to me (something he did for the very first time today) a little piece of my heart feeling a little less broken. The best look in the entire world, the look that keeps me going isn’t a look he gives me though, or a look he gives any one else. The look that keeps me going is the look he gives his mom every time she walks into the room..

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We laugh with each other, his mom and I, and say that he just smiles that way because he sees his “food source,” but that one look reminds me why I’m going through this pain, and why I’ll risk that pain again eventually. It reminds me why being a parent is written so deeply on my heart and gives me a reason to keep fighting. My little “Q” will never have any idea what he does for me, but every single day he keeps me going. And well, if you get nothing else from this post at least you got to see the cutest baby in the entire world.. (yet..) 😉

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My Little Alien

Hey little one,

Your dad and I went out the other night and had so much fun, but I thought of you the whole time. I no longer cry every time I think about you. Mostly I just think about how big you’d be or what happens in the week I was supposed to be in with you. This week has been hard because most women start to feel their little one’s move this week. I was so looking forward to that first little wiggle.. I miss you so much. I miss talking to you in the car on my way to work. Singing to you every day to and from work was my favorite time of day. I know that you’re being taken care of by some one so much greater than me now and that you got to meet your siblings. One of the biggest things I was looking forward to was teaching you all about him, but now I guess I don’t have to.

I want you to know that I wish I could have protected you the way I wanted to. I know now that I didn’t have any control over what happened, but I find myself constantly bargaining to have some kind of control back, to have to ability to save you though its too late now.

Since I can’t teach you about Earth I want to teach you about heaven, so here are some things I think you’ll love t0 do. First there are some hugs you should pass out to your Grandma Cenita, Grandpa Great, and Uncle Riley. Never forget to take some time out to soak up some sun. You didn’t ever get the chance to find out, but down here it gets hard to find the time. I know you want for nothing there back with the one who gave you to me. Lastly though, don’t forget to look over your dad and I.

I can’t wait to meet you someday long from now, but until then I’ll miss you down here and love you from afar.

I love you so much and I always will,

Mommy

Take Care of Yourself

I know that most of my posts are about the emotions and stages of grief while dealing with a loss of pregnancy, but today I want to talk post about health and my last week of healing.

First I’d like to point out something very common in the sleeping patterns of someone mourning a loss. It can go one of two ways, there are people like me that have issue sleeping at all and then there are people like Aaron who want to sleep all the time. If you are like Aaron you have nothing to worry about. Exhaustion is totally normal when suffering a loss. If you are like me though then it is so important to try and remember how important it is for your body to heal and for your mental health to get enough sleep at night.

Secondly, listen to and take care of your body. If you are hungry – eat. Even if you don’t feel like it. Don’t try to exercise more than your body can handle. After my first D&C procedure I went back to working out too soon and caused myself a lot of unneeded pain. Exercise is great for releasing the endorphins you might be craving to help with loss and hormonal depression, but so does sunshine and walks. Don’t push yourself too hard. If you have an ache or pain that doesn’t seem right to you than call your doctor. Drink enough water so that your body can properly tell you what it needs.

Lastly, for your mental health, please remember all the stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are all important to a healthy grieving process. They don’t always have to happen in the “right” order and it’s even normal to repeat stages. Personally, I go through denial, anger, and acceptance multiple times. Acceptance and denial always happen hand in hand. For instance, when I eat shrimp and panic because of what it may do to my baby, I then have to remind myself right away that I no longer have a baby to protect by not eating shrimp. Followed by anger about the situation and the having to remind myself constantly. The reason this is all important to remember is because you need to give yourself and your partner a break as you go through this.

Anyways, I thought this was important because third time around this terrible situation and I still did everything wrong all over again. Please let yourself breath. Don’t push yourself too far. Give yourself some wiggle room and always take some time to say your prayers.

Guilt

In the days after each loss my google search history contained things like “can jumping cause miscarriage,” after realizing that I may have hopped to get something off of the top shelf at the grocery store or “foods linked to loss of pregnancy,” so that I could make sure that I hadn’t eaten anything on any of the lists I found. I went through everything I had done since the moment of conception.Each of those times I found a new way that it was my fault, I found a new way that I had caused this terrible thing to happen to Aaron and I. If I had only given in and gotten that test sooner, if I had taken a test before starting birth control, if I hadn’t had that half a coke that one time with dinner or remembered to take my prenatals those three days I forgot it, then maybe I’d still have my baby. I could only ever find one thing in common every time – me.

I know I’m not alone in this. My parents, having gone through this themselves were full of advise and comfort each time, and this time one of the first things my daddy said to Aaron was “She’s going to blame herself just like her mom did, just stay by her and hold her.” So why do we do it? When twenty-five percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage and nineteen percent of the adult population will experience this loss, most never getting an explanation, why do we turn around and blame ourselves?

For me it’s simple, every year nearly 4 million babies are born in the US. Considering that some of them are twins, we’ll just say that 3.5 million women became moms, either for the first time or they got to experience it all over again. That means, to me, that 3.5 women did it right. They obviously have something or did something right. They prayed differently, slept different, thought different, or did different activities. Those women did something amazing. They grew a human in nine months inside of themselves. How amazing.. And that’s why I always felt guilty. This is why I always turned to my husband and apologized a million times through tears. What do they have that I don’t?

Well, here’s what I never consider when I get to feeling guilty. Some of those women had their baby taken away after delivery because they failed a toxicity screening. Some of those women continued to drink heavily throughout their entire pregnancy. Some of those women ate all of the things on all of those “no-go” lists I now have memorized. Some women do everything right. They never had a sip of caffeine, they never ate junk food, they went on walks everyday, they took exactly the right prenatals and never ever forgot, they did everything right. They lost their baby. It doesn’t matter what you do. A million different things can go wrong in pregnancy.

I didn’t get much better about this until someone reached out to me and told me what had helped her to stop feeling this way. I’m sure if you’re reading this you’ve probably read my other posts. You know what I’ve been through and of my loss. You know how they happened, you know when and where and at what point in my life. When reading my post explaining each one did you ever stop and think, “This is her fault.” Did you at any point stop and blame me? You don’t blame other women for what they’ve been through, so why would you blame yourself? You don’t blame your friends, you shouldn’t blame yourself. Something awful happened to you and you shouldn’t have to go through this storm in your life believing it’s your fault. Remember it’s after the worst storms that the rainbow appears.

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My Aar

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To understand my husband you have to get to the core of his heart and understand his depth of love. The way he loves God, the way he loves his family, the way he loves me, is so amazing. If you can imagine the deepest, most genuine, perfect kind of love, full of concern, kindness, and comfort – that’s how Aaron loves a stranger. One of the first conversations I ever had with my husband he told me, amidst a drunken stupor mind you, that there was nothing more important than showing the world kindness and love. The inside of my husband’s soul is exquisite and it shows in everything he touches. I’m seriously obsessed with him. I spend my life in constant awe of him and the way he loves.

The second thing you would have to understand is his patience. I often refer to it as his ‘calm’ when I talk to people about it. If you are reading this and you know me, you know that I am not what most people would consider stable. I feel emotions about ten times deeper than I should and I explode over things most people would barely notice. My Aar has never even thought twice about it. He loves me through it and always finds ways to pull me back to reality. His calm goes into everything he does. Through every disaster I stood in awe of how faithful he remained to God and to our future. With every set back I got more mad at God and when I asked him how he was able to look past and trust God he just quoted Romans 9:20. “On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?”  His strength and patience has numerous times been the only thing holding me together. God gave me the most perfect person as a life partner.

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With a better understanding of Aaron I’m sure you can imagine his absolute joy when I taped this to the outside of the door he walks through every night coming home from work:

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He started talking to our little one the next day in the middle of a little play argument. He looked at me and said “You’re dumb.” Then he put one hand on my still unchanged abdomen and said, “Not you, little one. Your mommy – she’s dumb.” He tucked me in every night and would tell me and our little alien how loved we are. My wonderful, perfect, beautiful husband fell in love with our baby in a way I thought only I could, but I should have known. After all, it’s Aar I’m talking about.

And that brings me to the hard part. The part that breaks my heart all the more. My sweet perfect husband is broken. He is just as broken as me. I’m not telling you this to try and tell you men should cry – which is true, they should – I’m telling you this to say that they don’t know they should. My Aaron has always been so strong for me. He has held me up right and carried us through the hardest moments in my life. This is why it kills me to watch his eyes get darker. If you’re reading this and you’re just as obsessed with your person you know what it feels like to need to do anything for them, to have a gravitational pull to whatever will make their heart smile. The way Aaron loves though, the way he loves me, is the strongest thing I’ve ever felt. He will do everything it takes to piece me back together every time, but what happens when he’s just as broken.

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As I write this I’m still not sure how to help my husband find any amount of peace or comfort. I’m at a loss as to what more I can do but tell him repeatably how much I love him, how much I need him, and that he can always talk to me. I don’t have any wise words to help you through this part either, just a few bible verses and prayer.

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“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”  1 Peter 4:8

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“Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3
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And I’ll leave you with my favorite. We will both make it through this. He is the exact fit for my heart and God put us together. Our rainbow will happen and it will be so beautiful and so treasured.
“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 
Mark 10:9
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Dramatic Pauses

My world has come to a dramatic halt a few times in my short life so far, and of course not every time has been bad! When my husband got down on one knee and asked me to marry him and the whole world stood still – dramatic pause. Standing over the bathroom sink staring at the two little lines that showed so quick on the fourth positive test I had taken that night – dramatic pause. Those are the times we talk about. We talk about how much we cried before we could manage to say yes to the man of our dreams before kissing him. We talk about the look on his face when you tell him he’s going to be a dad and that little sparkle of hope in his eyes. We hold on to these moments so tight and we tell them to anyone who will listen over and over because all too often we have more negative pause than positive. While I’m sure I’m no different than you, I’ve had quite a few of those not so happy pauses too. Three of those times lead me to write this. They’re probably different than the times your world sat still while you tried to piece it back together, but I feel like each story is important to talk about, so here are mine.

The first time I think is important to talk about happened in August of 2014. I DID NOT want to be pregnant. That’s probably why I waited and made excuses not to take a test for a month and a half after my missed period. Finally I wandered down the hallway in clinic I worked in and requested a blood test. By four thirty that day I got a call telling me I was pregnant and had an appointment the next day. Due to my stubborn waiting I was told I was already almost 10 weeks along. Dramatic Pause. As a million questions bubbled in my head all of a sudden I knew for certain one thing: I wanted to be a mom. I wanted it more than I had wanted to move out of my small hometown. I wanted it more than I had once wanted my husband to marry me. I wanted it more than I wanted to be a nurse. That want has been my reason for almost all the choices I’ve made since then. The next day at my appointment they talked to me about how I was feeling. I panicked at the thought that really I felt no different physically. They told me what to expect to feel, and then they got out a doppler to check the fetal heartbeat. After the longest five minutes of my life, the nurse gave me a tight smile, and told me she was going to get the doctor to preform a trans-vaginal ultrasound because the baby “must have it’s back turned.” The doctor came and shortly and confirmed what I had realized was my biggest fear – my baby had already died. The next events were honestly a blur. There were many people that came to talk to me. Nurses and doctors explained to me what was to come and repeatably asked me if I was okay. Soon after though I started bleeding rather heavily due to the sudden stress, but because of the bleeding they wanted to do the D&C right away. I was awake but medicated for the procedure as they hallowed me out, or at least that’s what it had seemed like to me. I don’t remember much, just the long drive home and wanting my mom. My life had changed forever.

The second time this happened I was in a much darker place. I was no longer in the military, I wasn’t working yet, and I was back in that hometown I once couldn’t wait to leave. March of 2015 I had what I thought was just the worst cramps because of a new birth control I had just started. Until that night when heavy bleeding turned into passing the tiny human I didn’t even know I was carrying. After a few panic attacks and a lot of crying I called my doctor that morning and she confirmed what I already knew. Thankfully no further medical intervention was needed and the physical recovery was short lived.

The last time my world shattered around me was a week ago. Friday April 8, 2016. I was so excited for this day. I had so many amazing things going on. My husband and I found out that we were due October 27th, right before my favorite holiday. At our 8 week ultrasound the baby measured 7 weeks, 5 days, which is normal because of my long cycle. The doctor was blown away by how strong our little alien’s heart beat was. I was in love with every little thing going on in my body. I was in love with my morning sickness and foggy brain, sore breasts, random crying and anger. I was in love with feeling my stomach get tighter. I will always be in love with that baby. With hope filling my head and my husband holding my hand we went to our second ultrasound appointment. She showed us how much our little one had grown. He looked so much more human. You could even see a little profile had formed! He was so perfect except for one thing – he no longer had that strong heartbeat we had heard before. As I’m writing this it’s still hard to comprehend. I would love to tell you it gets easier after having gone through it before. I would love to tell you it gets less devastating. That would be a lie. April 8, 2016 was the worst day of my young life. Over the next few minutes my doctor explained that I would get to be asleep for the procedure and that this time they would figure it out. Monday morning at five o’clock in morning Aaron scooped me into the car, helped me check into the hospital, and stood by my side as long as the doctors allowed him before they took me back to take my almost perfect little alien.

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No one talks about their miscarriages. No one tells the emotions you feel or the pain you’ll go through. No one tells you about the emptiness you feel after they tell you the procedure went well. I’m here to tell you you can talk about it – and you should! That loss is a part of me. I miss my babies. I never held them. Until the last I didn’t even know about them for longer than 24 hours, but they were mine. They lived inside me. They doubled in size within me week after week. I love them.  And as I struggle to type this through tears I hope you know that its okay to miss something you never really had and that you are strong.

Just as Scared as You — My Story

Today I am 7,604 days old. At this point in most people’s lives they have finals, friends, sorority drama, and boyfriends to worry about. That’s what most of my friends from high school worry about any ways. I guess you could say I’m not the average person that’s only 7,604 days old. I’m a prior duty military wife, full time nanny and student, and I’m supposed to be a mommy of two (an almost one year old and a four month old) coming out of her first trimester. I’m not a mommy of two though, and I’m not coming out of my first trimester. Actually, I’m currently recovering from my second D&C procedure after my third miscarriage that no doctor has truly been able to explain to me. I’m here to tell the ugly, sad, and quiet truth about the loss of a pregnancy. I hope this reaches everyone who may need it and maybe breaks down a few barriers. Mostly though, I hope everyone who reads this, and truly needs it, finds everything they’re searching for. Nothing can take away this pain, but I hope my words can help you find a little bit of hope, light, and insight into this dark time in your life.