A Scare at 7 Weeks and 3 Days

Miscarriage, Pregnancy

Saturday September 28th, was supposed to be a very relaxing day. I didn’t have any plans that day except for studying and relaxing at home. I spent the morning in my pjs, drinking decaf coffee and catching up on some reading. Charles headed to our university’s football game and hung out with friends. I felt completely fine, except some cramping around my pelvis and cervix. However, I was convinced that this cramping was completely normal in early pregnancy.

Around 1:30pm I made myself some cheesy potatoes for lunch. I then went to the bathroom for probably the tenth time that day. When I went to the bathroom, I felt completely normal and pregnant. When I went to wipe though, I froze. Blood. There was blood. I was bleeding. I was spotting. Oh no! I instantly started to panic. It wasn’t a lot of blood, and if I were to describe it…. it was like the color of pink lemonade. Regardless, it was enough blood to scare me.


Why was I bleeding? This can’t be happening! Not again! I can’t handle this! I can’t handle another loss! I frantically started praying. God please, please keep baby Chase safe! I don’t want to lose him!


I immediately called Charles. Once I started crying, I couldn’t stop. I told Charles what was going on and he immediately headed home. While I waited for Charles I called my friend Andrea. She prayed over Chase and I. I also called the midwife on call. I explained to her how I was feeling, and what I was seeing. The midwife explained that unfortunately it did sound like another miscarriage, but I could always go the hospital to get checked out if I wanted to. When Charles got home he hugged me, and reassured me things were going to be okay. Then we headed to the hospital.

Going to the ER on a Saturday afternoon, I knew there would be a wait. However, I didn’t anticipate a full hour wait. When we were finally called back, I was able to relax and rest in bed. My cramps were still mild and the bleeding hadn’t gotten any worse. I was thankful for that. I explained to every nurse and doctor I saw my symptoms and medical history. I had a variety of tests done including CBC blood work, urine test, pelvic exam and three ultrasounds.

One nurse that particularly stood out to me was Doug. He was the best male nurse I have ever had. He went above and beyond to take care of me, my baby and my husband. He was funny and very willing to answer my questions. He also disclosed to us that his wife has had three miscarriages, and currently has two sons at home, and an infant in the NICU of the hospital. One thing Doug said that truly stood out to me, was this: At this point we don’t know if you are going to have a miscarriage or have a healthy pregnancy. But just try to take care of yourself and rest. Know that you have done nothing wrong. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be at this time….


Don’t be scared, because your body knows what to do, and it is going to do what needs to be done. So, take care of yourself and be there for one another because this affects both of you.


Based on all my tests, everything was completely normal. My blood work showed that my HCG was in the 2000s which was higher than I ever had with my first pregnancy. My hemoglobin, and thyroid levels also looked great. My urine was fine and no UTI. My pelvic exam was normal besides some uterine bleeding. Lastly, my ultrasounds all came back fine. The reason I had three ultrasounds is because the doctors had a hard time finding the fetus. The ER doctor first used an ultrasound machine beside, which apparently has a difficult time picking up a fetus smaller than 12 weeks. I was then sent to an ultrasound room where I had another test done over my belly. The tech also had a hard time finding the fetus, so I had to have an inner-vaginal ultrasound. During this test, the tech and Charles were able to see the baby. Baby was only measuring at 5 weeks and 2 days… which was strange since I was supposed to be two weeks further in my pregnancy. However, the doctors said it was a possibility I had ovulated late. Besides that, baby was still attached to the uterus and everything seemed normal.

That night around 6:30pm we were sent home. I called and texted family and friends to let them know what was going on. When we got home, I forced myself to rest and take it easy. Shortly after arriving home, I had to go to the bathroom again. Though I was hoping the bleeding had stopped, I was still anxious by what I saw. I was still bleeding and it was getting brighter and thicker. Even though I was cleared to go home, I still feared I was going to lose this baby. Charles took the evening to hold me, and reassure me that it was going to be okay. That night when I went to sleep I had peace and faith I was going to wake up in the morning, with no bleeding and feeling so much better. I was convinced my baby and I would be fine, until I woke up at 12am the next morning……

Wise Words from My Friend Andrea

Physical Health, Pregnancy

Hi, I’m Andrea! How do I know Kaylee, you ask? Well, Kaylee and I have been best friends for half our lives. If you ever get a chance to ask her how we met, do it. It’s quite the story! Today, I’d like to share with you about body image. However, before we dive into such a deeply personal topic, I should tell you a little about me. I enjoy crafting, hiking, anything nature-related, good conversations, board games, changing seasons, experimenting in the kitchen, and all things Christmas. Oh, and my husband is my favorite. We met in college (another great story for another time) and have been married for three years. We have an active, inquisitive 19-month-old son and are expecting a baby girl around Thanksgiving. 

Enough about me. Let’s talk body image.

Remember when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) had their first child and gave the public their first look at their new baby? In the photos released, a beaming but tired William and Kate snuggled their newest addition. Kate wore a beautiful dress that tucked in at her waist and revealed her postpartum baby bump. To my surprise, media in the US centered not on the sweet little bundle of joy, but rather on Kate’s newly postpartum body. I couldn’t believe that after waiting 9-10 months to meet their baby, the public was more interested in how small Kate’s waist was, the fact that her belly still bulged little, and other features not worth noting.

While stigmas surrounding body image affect every person, childbearing women especially experience this reality in a deep and raw way. Some women I’ve known have a newfound security in their body image while pregnant or even after birth, finding pride in what their bodies can do and how many incredible changes they face to nourish and care for a child. Other women face deeper and more extreme struggles when they don’t have the perfectly round baby bump they’ve always pictured, or stretch marks tear across new areas of their bodies, or they face pain with their previously normal activities such as walking, intimacy, or even sitting. 

Pregnancy has a way of impacting every portion of our being, from physical to emotional to spiritual. From the moment conception takes place, our bodies begin a long process of growing, changing, and morphing in new ways. With my first pregnancy, I pictured glowing skin smiling through morning sickness, a perfectly round little baby bump, and minimal weight gain that would slough off with a few months of breastfeeding. Boy, was I wrong. I was instead met with an overall feeling of puffiness from my face to my toes almost immediately after conceiving. My fatigue was overwhelming. I didn’t just feel tired. I looked tired. Acne popped up. When my bump began to show (much earlier than anticipated, I should add), I was met with more insecurity. I’ve always had a rough relationship with my stomach. Attracting more attention to an area I’ve always wanted to downplay brought up even more feelings of insecurity, especially considering the many unwelcome hands touching it (another topic altogether). Yes, I was absolutely thankful to be pregnant, but I just didn’t look or feel the way I had pictured. 

Once I was in the midst of the second half of my pregnancy, my weight gain – while in the healthy range on doctor’s office charts – felt like too much. My jeans were tight and my maternity shirts that had fit me at 18 weeks were creeping too high on my stomach while my bust pushed them too low on my chest. Everything was changing. By 30 weeks, my stomach had reached its limit for how far it could stretch. I tried creams, but my genetics won out. Stretch marks began to span across my growing belly. When I found the first one, I felt panic rise in my chest. “What?! This early?! How many more will I get before my baby arrives?” I’m glad I didn’t know the answer then. I needed time to accept and appreciate my changing body. 

Eventually, I couldn’t see my toes. I could hardly do a patchwork job of shaving my legs. I was too uncomfortable to do much of anything. Basic hygiene took loads of effort. I didn’t feel very human anymore. I used to be excited for this stage of pregnancy when I was obviously pregnant and feeling every movement of my little son…but the discomfort nearly outweighed the excitement. Then I faced guilt for feeling this way. Much of my pregnancy was not what I had pictured.

Then, the day came. The day. I gave birth to my miracle son, my sweet little boy. I had pictured this moment in my mind’s eye countless times. I’d heard women say everything in their world melted away the moment they saw their baby, and nothing else mattered. It’s a bit of a dramatized statement, but it holds some truth. Looking at my son and recognizing that I was his most crucial caregiver brought new perspective to my life. My dislikes about the current state of my body didn’t matter so much anymore. I had more to think about than the size of my waist or how many stretch marks I had acquired. 

Regardless of a shift in perspective, I still had the same body to sleep in, eat in, and see naked in the bathroom mirror. I had the same body to move in, breathe in, and use to care for my new baby. I had to come to terms with what it was. I remember lying in the bathtub at the hospital the first chance I had to bathe after birth. I was exhausted and thankful that I had completed the birthing process. Then, I looked at my stomach…and I couldn’t believe the words that came to my mind. “My stomach is floating.” That once-full belly with a little pregnancy fat and a little pregnancy stretch was floating. My stomach muscles were too tired and stretched to hold it. I felt another wave of panic. “Will my stomach always be like this?! How will I ever run again? How will I ever find another dress that makes me feel beautiful?” But thankfully, I was too tired to dwell on these things for long. 

In the weeks following birth, I was still too tired to do much fretting about what my body looked like. I was caring for a new life 24/7 and adjusting to a new level of responsibility and purpose for me. Eventually, as I emerged from the fog of caring for a newborn, my insecurities began to eat at me again. It took longer than I had imagined for my stomach muscles to tighten again. My extra weight wouldn’t budge much until I had stopped nursing my son. Yet, this round of dealing with insecurities looked different than it had throughout my pregnancy. This time, I had a newfound empowerment. Yes, I was stretched out, tired, scarred, and a few pounds heavier than I wanted to be…but I had carried a life. I wore the battle scars of nourishing another human from the inside out. I plumbed the depths of my heart and mind for strength I didn’t know I could ever muster during the most uncomfortable moments of pregnancy, in that birthing suite, and in the middle of the night fits of colic. And in those moments, I had the opportunity to reassess my purpose in life, and how that intense difficulty served to point me to the One who made me, sustains me, and gave me my son to care for. He gave me meaning and purpose and used even my lowest moments to teach me about himself and draw me in to his incredible grace and tenderness. 

Call me crazy, but I’ve found more confidence and strength in my postpartum body than I ever had in my pre-baby body with my flat, smooth stomach and well-exercised body. Defining my purpose and looking beyond the moment to remember it was more impactful than a few stretch marks could ever be. I’ve been scarred by childbearing…but the confidence I’ve found has meant more than any of my previous body ideals. And that confidence could only be found in seeing beyond the moment and shifting my perspective to my body’s purpose. I am so much more than my body. 

Whether you’ve ever experienced pregnancy, birth, or caring for a baby postpartum, you’re bound to at least experience some form of body image issues. Remember, your body is a vehicle to carry out your purpose in life. It’s not the prize at the end of a race. You have a chance to live every day in this vehicle that will continually morph throughout your life, with or without childbearing. And it’s worth it. Don’t let your body be what defines you. It’s about what you do with your body that matters. Who are you? What do you think? What makes you tic? How do you spend your time? What gives you purpose?

Abortion: A Topic That is Triggering to Women Who Have Miscarried

Just Me Blogging, Life After Miscarriage, Resources

With all the talk of abortion lately… I decided to write this post. I was quite hesitant in that this topic is so controversial. Now my intention is not to turn this post into a debate or to push my views on to other people. My goal for this post is to simply offer a new perspective to many who may not have considered it. I’m also not going to clearly state whether or not I am pro life or pro choice. I am simply offering a perspective that I believe others have experienced too.

After having my miscarriage, the topic of abortion became very triggering to me. This was mostly because I was a different person and I looked at things differently. I watched many people have debates over social and news media. I saw graphic pictures throughout my campus. All of these things were very upsetting, but the one thing that set me off the most was my medical bills. When I received my medical bills I was not only trigged by the reminder of my miscarriage, but I was also triggered by the medical lingo that was used. Spontaneous Abortion. I looked at those two words and felt sick to my stomach. Home alone, I screamed at the top of my lungs “I did not have an abortion!” I was heated.

After doing some research it seems this is the proper terminology that is used when it is recorded that a woman has a D & C after a miscarriage. Despite that I still had uneasy feelings about it. Did I really have an abortion? I didn’t have a choice if my baby would live or die. Did I do something wrong? Should I have opted to have my miscarriage naturally? It took me weeks before I found the answers to these questions, and strangely enough I stumbled upon them in a devotional I received from a friend. In the devotional it states that yes, according to medical terminology I did have a spontaneous abortion. I could choose to look at it from that perspective, or I could choose to look at it another way. My baby physically left my body like any other women who has a natural vaginal delivery. There were tools used to help remove my baby yes, but my cervix still dilated. So, instead of looking at it like an abortion, I choose to look at it like labor. I labored my baby who sadly was born sleeping.

If you are reading this and you haven’t had a miscarriage, first thank you for reading, and secondly keep in mind there is likely a woman in your life that has had a miscarriage. I would also like us all to keep that in mind the next time we discuss or debate the topic of abortion. Always consider your audience and who might be listening. Abortion is a very touchy topic and just because I find it triggering doesn’t mean other women will. However I will leave it at this. I did everything right, and my baby died. I didn’t have a choice… and it hurts.

Presenting on Trauma

Life After Miscarriage

On Monday April 1st, I had to give a presentation on trauma on the brain for my internship. I originally picked this topic when I transferred to my new internship site. The topic of trauma and how it affects the brain and development really interests me. I spent a lot of time working on this project through my recovery time at home. I decided to create this presentation using a trifold presentation board. Not only was it therapeutic for me to understand the affects of trauma, but I also enjoyed being creative and assembling this presentation.

When it was time for me to present at 12:30pm, I was a little nervous. I don’t enjoy public speaking, but at the same time I was up to the challenge and wanted to do well in this internship. The presentation was only going to be about 30 minutes and I was presenting to about an audience of 10 peer educators. When I started the presentation, I did okay. I tried sounding enthusiastic as well as professional when presenting on my topic. Towards the middle of the presentation, I remember reading my notes and feeling a lump in my throat. I wasn’t really sure why. I had practiced this presentation many times, and yet I was getting choked up. My voice started to crack as I read to the audience different traumatic events that can affect people

“Car accidents, natural disasters, losing a child, including miscarriage, infant loss or still birth…..” Then I involuntarily stopped talking. My mouth could open but no words were coming out. It was the same problem that happen when I tried talking to the receptionist at my OB’s office. “Um…” I said trying to talk. My mind was blank. Why couldn’t I talk. Why did I feel like I was about to cry. I felt humiliated standing up there not being able to talk. I had practiced this and I was fine, but now that I was presenting I was being triggered by my own presentation. Eventually, I was able to start talking again. I don’t know how but I did. I don’t remember much more after that. I know I finished the presentation but I’m pretty sure I rushed through it and didn’t make a lot of sense.

Once I was done I was ready to get out of there. I left all my stuff and stepped into the hallway. I broke down and started crying. I felt humiliated I couldn’t keep it together. My friend Jeanie came out in the hallway and held my while I cried. She could tell I was triggered too. We both went to a different room where we could cry and calm down. My coordinator Danielle told me I did a good job even though she could tell I was having a really hard time. Despite the fact that I was triggered while presenting on trauma, I was still proud of myself for coming as far as I had and for getting through the presentation. I was also very thankful for the opportunity to research and present on the topic of trauma, and hope to have the opportunity again someday.

One Month Later…

Life After Miscarriage

The last week of March wasn’t easy. I didn’t realize it until later, but since the month of February only has 28 days, the month of February as well as March fall on the exact same days of the week. For instance I had my ultrasound and was given the worst news of my life on Monday February 25th, and I had my D & C on Thursday February 28th. Since February has 28 days instead of 30 or 31, March 25th also fell on a Monday and March 28th also fell on a Thursday. I found this really interesting as I approached the one month mark of having my miscarriage. It almost felt like déja vu. The 25th of March wasn’t as bad as I expected. Sure I was sad and I reflected a lot on what had happen a month ago, but since I was in so much shock that day, I think that’s why it didn’t affect me as much. Thursday March 28th however, was rough to say the least.

I woke up that morning feeling the heaviness of fresh grieve once again. It was as if I was under a weighted blanket and I honestly did not have the strength to get up. I called in sick to my internship, and my coordinator understood. My husband was worried about me. He had to go to class and work, but he was hesitant to leave me alone. I told him I would be okay and I was just gonna get some rest.

I remember laying in bed and pulling out my phone. I started scrolling through social media pages, which I now know was a big mistake. Within minutes I saw two pregnancy announcements for babies who would be due in September and October…. I lost it. I laid in bed and sobbed. The pain, the grief, the sorrow it all flooded back as if the miscarriage had just happen yesterday. From that point on everything set me off. My arms ached again as I longed for my baby. I grew angry and started yelling at God again for taking my baby. I was also still lactating and it was becoming unbearable. Every time I cried, I would lactate. It was ridiculous. It was a constant reminder that I no longer had a baby. It wasn’t fair.


That afternoon I became very emotionally unstable. I decided to call my doctor. She had mentioned at my last appointment that if I am not doing well emotionally, or physically then I need to call her. When a nurse at the office answered I was already crying. I tried holding back my tears so she could understand me. I told her how frustrated I was that I had been lactating for over three weeks. I also explained to her that my surgeon had told me to give the office a call if I wasn’t doing well… and I obviously wasn’t. She asked me if I wanted to speak with a social worker. I paused and said “Yeah, it would have been nice if you had offered that to me a month ago!” I probably shouldn’t have yelled at her, but I was so frustrated. I was still angry the social worker was too busy to see me the day of my surgery. I had so much support when I was pregnant, but once I miscarried, I slowly felt the support dwindle away. She ended up transferring me. I left a message for the social worker stating I wanted to talk, I wasn’t doing well and I would like some resources to help me cope through my miscarriage. When I hung up the phone, I felt like nothing was accomplished. All I did really was cry and leave a message.

After that intense meltdown on the phone with the nurse, I took a nap. I was emotionally drained. When I woke up about an hour later I got a text from my best friend. I unlocked my phone and read it. I instantly got a pit in my stomach and tears started to well up in my eyes again. My best friend was 5 weeks pregnant… and I started crying again. Part of me wanted to fake it and say congratulations, but since I was so unstable I knew it wasn’t a good idea. I had already yelled at the nurse over the phone, I didn’t also want to yell at my best friend. This was a happy thing, and I didn’t want to be selfish and make it all about me. So, I decided not to respond.

I ended up calling my mom and crying to her, as well as reaching out to my online support group. I talked about how challenging it is to see pregnancy announcements. On the one hand I wanted to be happy for them, but I wasn’t…. I was jealous. I was suppose to be pregnant! I was suppose to be showing and getting congratulated. Secondly, it’s challenging because I instantly had anxiety for everyone else who was pregnant. What happen to me was awful, and I wouldn’t ever wish it on anyone else. Even though I was jealous and angry, I still prayed for those women and that their babies would be okay. After this emotional day of seeing three different pregnancy announcements, and the fact that it landed on one month since my surgery; I decided to unfollow some of the pregnant and young moms on social media. It wasn’t going to be forever, but just for the meantime until I reached a place where I could handle it better.

That evening I went to dinner at the dining hall with Reaghan. I wasn’t hungry for anything except ice cream. I ate three bowls of it. I had no shame. I needed comfort food that day. Reaghan was so supportive and such a good listener as I talked, cried and stuffed my face with ice cream. After being quiet for a moment I remember telling her “I miss my baby.” as I silently cried over my ice cream. She said with compassion “I know… and it’s okay to be sad Kaylee. It’s okay to feel everything you’re feeling” she knew exactly what I needed to hear.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4

Why?

Miscarriage

I remember being rolled to the recovery room. I remember not feeling any physical pain. I remember thinking the lights were way too bright. I remember feeling really confused, not sure where I was or why I felt so incredibly out of it. Then… I remembered everything.

Bargaining

I felt the weight of my broken heart throughout my entire body. My baby was gone… spiritually, emotionally, mentally and now physically. She was gone forever. I began crying, screaming, and yelling. In my head I didn’t think I was that loud, but apparently I was because the people in recovery continuously told me I was being too loud. I felt my nurses trying to comfort me by holding my hand and rubbing my arm. I remember a nurse trying to have me take some pills and a sip of water. I think the pills were for anxiety. I remember I would hear a beeping noise every time I would hold my breath, my nurses would remind me to breathe.

“Why God Why!? God killed my baby! God took her away!” I continued thrashing in the bed. I was so overcome by emotion and heartbreak. “God how could you do this to me!? I want my baby! I want Mackenzie! I hate you God! How could you do this to me!? Oh Mackenzie!” I continued screaming this in recovery. I remember hearing the nurses talk about bringing my mom back.

When my mom came back, I was still a heart broken mess. My mom did her best to calm me down. I know it was hard for her to see me like that. My mom ended up giving me my bear and I held on to it tight. My arms ached. I needed something to hold. I came into the hospital pregnant, but I didn’t get to leave the hospital with a baby.

“Why? Why did my baby have to die? What did I do wrong? I’m her mom, I should have known!” I was entering in the stage of bargaining. I pleaded with God and couldn’t fathom why God chose to take my baby. As I pleaded with God, a nurse came over to me. She told me not to do this to myself. She said not to beat myself up and go down this dark road. She told me I did nothing wrong. It wasn’t fair. There’s so many moms in the world who don’t take care of their babies, and their babies live and have rough lives. Where as I would have done anything to be the best mom I could be and take care of my baby. It wasn’t fair.

Eventually, the drugs kicked in and I settled down. I ended up staying in recovery 2 hours longer than expected because I was so emotionally unstable. My nurses and parents got me ready and took me home. Everything from that day after this point is a blur. I’m assuming I just slept the rest of the day but I don’t know for sure. All I know is that by the end of the day, I was no longer pregnant and I was heartbroken.

“I have heard your prayers and seen your fears; I will heal you.” – 2 Kings 20:5

The Hours Leading Up to My Procedure…

Miscarriage

On our way home from the hospital, we stopped at the pharmacy to get my pain med prescription filled. Despite the fact I had had a shot for my pain less the three hours prior, I was still in some pain and discomfort. It wasn’t as bad sitting down, but if I had to stand for more than a few minutes, the pain was intense. I don’t remember much, but apparently I got very frustrated with the pharmacist. They tried telling me they didn’t accept my insurance, when in reality I had straight Medicaid at the time and everybody accepted straight Medicaid. Not only that, but I had just picked up meds for my husband a few days earlier. We have the exact same insurance and there was no issue. According to my dad, he could tell I was in a lot of pain as I leaned on the counter at the pharmacy. My Dad said I was very close to climbing over the counter and strangling the people at the pharmacy because they kept arguing with me… but I didn’t. We ended up going to a different pharmacy and had absolutely no problem. Thank goodness.


When we got back to my parents house, my mom pulled me aside and hugged me. It’s almost like she knew I needed that hug before I even knew to ask for it. She’s a really good mom. “You need to embrace this baby. Spend some time by yourself with just you and baby. Talk to her. Because tomorrow… you are going to feel so empty when she’s gone.” She said hugging me and holding me tight. I sobbed all over her shoulder. I did not want to do this. I didn’t want to say goodbye to my baby. I didn’t want to stop being pregnant. I didn’t want to accept the fact that she was gone. Charles came over in the afternoon. He brought me flowers that were sent from Andrea and Alli.

That evening around 6pm, I went into the bedroom I was staying in and closed the door. I sat on the bed and stared at the wall. I was snuggled in many layers of blankets and gripped Mackenzie’s quilt and held it in my arms. As I sat there, I realized that my mom was right. I was spinning out of control and trying to avoid the loss and pain that was currently consuming my life. I tried just to breathe. As I started to calm myself down I began to feel it. All the emotions of pain and sadness came to the surface. My baby died. I had a miscarriage. No. No! This wasn’t happening! Why did she die!? Why did she have to go? For two hours I sat in that dark bedroom crying over my baby. I gripped my belly wishing so much that I didn’t have to say goodbye. I would have given ANYTHING for this not to be real. My mom came in to check on me. She comforted me. In many ways I felt better. The physical pressure of needing to cry was gone but the pain and sadness continued. I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t want to say goodbye.


The morning of my surgery I woke up confused. I actually got more than three hours of sleep and felt slightly rested. It believe it was due to the amount of crying I did before falling asleep and the pain meds I was on. I called Charles when I was more awake. It was around 5am and I needed to be at the hospital at 9am. Before the miscarriage and everything had happen, Charles was offered the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. for a conference. Since we had already payed for the trip, I told Charles he should still go. As hard as it may be for him not to be here, I still wanted him to go and try and enjoy himself. I felt that everything had been taken away from me, so in my effort to protect Charles I still wanted him to go on his trip. When I called Charles he was getting ready to leave for the airport. I don’t really remember the conversation but I know we were both pretty emotional. After hanging up, I regretted telling him to go on his trip. I wanted him here, but it was too late.

Before leaving for the hospital I took my final pregnancy bump pictures. Taking the pictures was something I needed to do, but it also broke my heart because I knew it would be for the last time. 💔

“Grief is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” – Jamie Anderson

What is Grief?

Miscarriage

Grief…. Grief is a season we enter into when someone dies. Depending on the relationship with that individual, how they died and when they died will often affect our process of grief. According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross there are 5 stages of grief.

Denial – this is the moment when you receive the news that your love one is gone and you can’t believe it. Your mind refuses to believe it. You live in disbelief anywhere from a few minutes to a few days (Kubler – Ross, 2019). I experienced denial when I received the news that my baby had died. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t want to imagine a future without her. I didn’t want to let go of the dreams I had for her.

Anger – this is the moment you start to understand and realize what has happen. You grow angry. Bitter. Hurt (Kubler – Ross, 2019). I felt this way between the days of my ultrasound and surgery, as well as days after. I was so angry. I was angry at myself. I was angry at my doctors. I was angry at my husband. I was even angry at God. I was angry that my baby died.

Bargaining – this is the moment you start to ask the “what if?” and “why?” questions. It’s when we start to wonder and even believe their had to have been something we could have done differently (Kubler – Ross, 2019). I was in this stage for awhile. Daily, I would ask myself why did my baby have to die? Why didn’t I see this coming? What did I do to deserve this? I’m her mom, why didn’t I know she was gone? I should have known. I would have given anything to change what was and to have my baby be alive and okay.

Depression – this is a stage you can enter into over and over again. This stage can last for months or even years on end (Kubler – Ross, 2019). Days after my surgery I bounced back and forth between stages, but I mostly lived in the depression stage. I remember lying in bed for days, sobbing and unable to move. The sadness was too much.

Acceptance – this is typically the last stage of grief and we usually enter this stage weeks, months or even years after already going through the other stages. This is the moment that we aren’t necessarily okay that a love one is gone, but rather we accept this is our new reality and understand that our loved one is no longer with us (Kubler – Ross, 2019). As I write this today, I believe I am slowly coming out of depression and entering into the acceptance stage. As I take the opportunity to write and work on myself, I have come to realize that as heavy as my grief can be, life goes on. I will always miss my baby, but I am still alive and here to do good work in honor of her.

One thing to remember about the 5 stages of grief is that not everyone experiences them in this order. Some people experience denial and depression first, while someone else may experience anger and bargaining first. It is also helpful to remember that these five stages are a cycle. Almost everyone who is living in grief will enter each stage at some point and they may enter them many times before finding acceptance.

There is no set time limit on grief. Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. For me personally, I believe I am taking longer to grieve more than some other angel mommies. I also feel that I am more public with my grief… by writing a blog and sharing my story. Not only does this help me talk about Mackenzie but it also helps me not feel so alone.

“The only person who gets to decide what grief looks like, is the person experiencing it.” – Megan Devine


If you are interested in learning more about the five stages of grief, I have provided a link below.

https://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief/

The Decision to Share My Story

Miscarriage

The night I found out about our baby, I laid awake. I tossed and turned. I couldn’t go five minutes without crying. As the hours passed, the more my new reality would hit. I’m not having a baby. I’m not gonna be a mom anymore. These thoughts just broke my heart over and over again. As I laid in the bed awake, I thought back to when this all started. I thought about Andrea asking if I could be pregnant. I thought about Alli bringing me the pregnancy test. I thought about the excitement and disbelief we all had about me being pregnant. I thought about my mom and I shopping for maternity clothes. I thought about my crazy pregnancy cravings. I thought about both ultrasounds. I thought about the dreams that Charles and I had for this little girl…. I found myself holding my breathe still in a state of shock. How can this journey suddenly be over? Just like that.

By 3am I couldn’t take it anymore. The series of events that occurred in the last 7 weeks kept swirling around my head. As much as it was torcher to think about, I didn’t want to forget. This was my story. This didn’t all happen for nothing. I didn’t understand the reason, but I knew I wasn’t meant to suffer in silence. I thought about the pros and cons of sharing my story. People may give me pity or think I just want attention. People may say something insensitive or just the wrong thing and it could hurt more. People would forever look at me differently.

That night I wrote a brief status on my Facebook of my pregnancy and miscarriage. I outlined it as a letter to Mackenzie. The decision to write my story wasn’t an easy one to make, and I knew I was taking a risk. However, I chose to tell my story for three reasons.

1) I wanted control. I felt like I had lost all control in this situation. That’s one thing that made this situation fall into the category of a traumatic event. I the victim or survivor lost all control in the loss I was experiencing. I not only wanted to find some grasp of control in this situation, but I also wanted some control of what others may say to me. Ever since Charles and I got married, it never fails that every few weeks someone is asking us when we are going to have kids. Due to what had just happen to us, I didn’t want anyone to ask. I thought that if people knew our story they would be respectful of our loss and allow us to choose when we want to talk about starting a family.

2) I knew I wasn’t alone. As much as it hurt and as much as I felt like I must be the only woman in the world to feel this pain… I knew I wasn’t. I knew there were others out there like me. Many have suffered in silence while others have shared their story publicly. I wanted to be able to connect to those who have gone through this pain, so that I could find some glimmer of hope that I could get through it too.

3) I wanted the world to know Mackenzie. Naming her, talking about her and sharing our story made her real. I didn’t want her just to be an idea, or dream. She is real. She did grow inside me and sadly she was called home.

So I did it. I shared my story around 4am on Tuesday February 26th. To this day I still can’t believe the impact of sharing my story….

That Night…

Miscarriage

The drive back to my apartment is a complete blur. I don’t remember returning home. All I remember is sitting on the couch in the living room crying. My mom sat next to me hugging and comforting me. She sent my dad out to go get us some comfort food. I wasn’t hungry. I sat there and stared at the laundry baskets full of baby items I had accumulated in the last few weeks. They were a mixture of items I had made or already had, as well as items from friends and my mom who would splurge on the baby clearance items every chance she got.

Sitting there on the couch, I felt so numb. I wanted this to be a bad dream. This was not how the day was supposed to go. I was supposed to see my baby. I was supposed to hear her heart beat for the first time. I was suppose to send the picture to Charles. We were suppose to make our big announcement. It wasn’t suppose to be this way. I did everything right and I showed no signs of a problem. How did I miss this? How did I not know that my baby had died?

While my dad was gone, I asked my mom to bag up all the baby items and just take them away. I didn’t want to see them. I didn’t want to be reminded of what almost was. However, as she did this, I felt crushed. I wasn’t ready to let go of the excitement and dreams I had as I looked at the baby items. I decided to keep a few things out to keep with me. I placed them in a cardboard box and decided that when I was ready I would create a memory box.

When my dad returned he brought me back a shamrock shake. Bless his little heart. Charles also returned home around this time. Charles hugged me and held me and allowed me to cry. My parents were concerned about us eating and kept asking what we should do for dinner. They offered to pick up food and bring it back so we could eat in. I told them I wanted to go out. I didn’t want to be in this house anymore. It just all still reminded me of baby.

We decided on Red Lobster and drove separately. I rode with Charles. In the car, Charles and I talked and he tried his hardest to comfort me. I told Charles I wanted to name our baby. I remembered seeing in the movie Heaven is For Real, how the daughter that the mother miscarried was up in Heaven without a name. I didn’t want that to be our child. I wanted our baby to be up there in Heaven with a name. For awhile I had been having strong feelings that we were carrying a girl. Charles was hoping for a boy. We talked about it, talked about why we felt the way we did and discussed different names we liked. We decided on naming her Mackenzie. It was beautiful.

At dinner my parents tried there hardest to try and put a smile on my face, but I wasn’t having it. I was in mourning. They respected that but I know it hurt them to see me this way. Throughout the evening I texted the people I had originally told I was pregnant that I had lost the baby. Most responses were I’m so sorry and Is there anything I can do? and Oh Kaylee, my heart breaks for you. It was comforting that so many people cared but was also just another reminder that this was not a dream, this was reality.

I decided to stay with my parents that night. I started cramping and was terrified that my body would try passing the baby over night. As much as I wanted to be with Charles, he was in the middle of his midterms and I didn’t want to stress him out even more. I didn’t want to keep him up all night with my worry and grief. I also didn’t want him to have to take me to the hospital if I started hemorrhaging or something else went wrong. So, I stayed with my parents, snuggled some kitties and tried to mentally process the day. This was the worst day of my life.

“You were not meant to be with me in this world, but you are indelibly a part of me.” – Azirah Rowen

The Worst Day of My Life

Miscarriage

On Monday February 25th, I woke up bright and early. I was officially 11 weeks pregnant and I was gitty about our ultrasound that afternoon. It had been three weeks from our last ultrasound, so I couldn’t wait to see how much baby had grown. Since that ultrasound, I had begun to show and felt some twinging and pulling on my sides… but no cramps which was a good sign. My morning sickness was slowly starting to subside as well. I looked it up to see if it was normal for morning sickness to taper off around 10 and 11 weeks. Apparently, a certain percentage of women say their morning sickness ended around this time of their pregnancy. Charles and I were also excited because after this ultrasound we were going to make the public announcement about our sweet baby. I went to class that morning with Charles, and then went to my internship meeting, I let my internship coordinator Danielle know I would have to leave a little early to make it to my appointment at 2pm. When I left for my appointment, I let Jeanie know I would be texting her soon with baby’s newest glamour shot. Since Charles had class all afternoon, my parents picked me up and we headed to my appointment.


When scheduling for this appointment, I was informed that both of my OB’s office ultrasound machines were down and I would need to go to Out-Patient testing instead. Out-Patient testing was located on the opposite side of the hospital. When I arrived in the office, I remembered coming here when I was fourteen. I was having issues with my gallbladder and also had to have an ultrasound. This gave me a little comfort knowing it was a familiar place.

When they called me back, my mom and I headed down the hall to the ultrasound room. My dad decided to run a couple errands while we were at the appointment. When I walked in the tech asked me my name and birthdate,

“So, what brings you in for an ultrasound today? Is it your first ultrasound?” He asked.

I explained to him that I had had an 8 week ultrasound at the Alternatives Clinic. I went to that appointment on Tuesday February 5th and was 8 weeks and 1 day, however baby was measuring at 7 weeks and 4 days. The tech listened as I laid back on the table and lifted my shirt. My bladder was full again but not nearly as much as my previous ultrasound. The tech put the warm jelly on my belly and placed the wand back and fourth. He grew quiet for a minute which made me slightly nervous, but I just told myself he was looking at my ovaries and then he would move on to baby. My mom sat next to me watching the screen and asking questions about any tests I should have done. The tech continued to stay quiet.

He zoomed in on baby and I saw her again for a second time. She was starting to look like a baby. I could see the outline of her head and body. She was so tiny but had grown so much. The tech asked me again when I had my last ultrasound. I found it really strange that he kept asking me questions but he didn’t really answer any of our questions. I then saw him check the heart beat. He brought the measurement scale up on to the screen and I didn’t see anything. That was weird.

“I’m sorry… I’m having some issues” He said nervously. Oh great, this ultrasound machine isn’t working either, I thought. “I’m going to go get our radiologists, because I am seeing that the baby is only measuring at 8 weeks and 5 days.” He said then left in a hurry.

My mom and I both looked at each other. My first thought was, good baby has grown…. but wait, I’m supposed to be close to 11 weeks, not 9. I immediately got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. Something was wrong.

“See, I told you you’re having twins!” My mom said jokingly. On the way to the appointment I asked my mom how she would feel if it was twins. She said she would just laugh because that’s how life goes sometimes. I continued worrying about baby. Maybe she’s disabled. Maybe she has a serious health problem. Maybe she’s a dwarf. Maybe there is twins and one is just hiding behind the other and one is taking the other’s nutrients. Maybe everything is fine. There was one thing I knew for certain, I wasn’t having any bleeding or cramping so baby was still alive… I thought.

The ultrasound tech returned with the radiologists behind him. He introduced us to the doctor and he shook our hands and sat down. “Hi Kaylee.” He looked at me with pity eyes… why was he giving me pity eyes? “So, we took a look at your ultrasound and it seems that the fetus has died. Their was no heart beat. I’m very sorry… I know this isn’t an easy thing to hear.” I stared at him. He was lying. This was a sick joke. I’m still pregnant. My baby didn’t die. “I do want you to know that it’s nothing you did. More that likely it was due to a chromosomal abnormality and the baby was just unhealthy.” I continued to stare at my doctor. My breathing quickened. I felt something touch my hand that startled me. Turns out it was my mom holding my hand and crying. Was this really happening?

“She fell a few weeks ago on the ice. Could that have caused this?” My mom asked with a cracked voice.

“More than likely not. In early pregnancy such as this it’s usually something wrong with the baby. 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. So, unfortunately everything has to go perfectly right for there to be a healthy pregnancy” He said. I could tell he was trying to make sure I didn’t blame myself… too late.

“So, when did the baby die?” My mom asked. That was my question too.

“At 8 weeks and 5 days.” He said matter of factly. We were concerned that if my baby had been dead inside me for approximately 11 days, was that going to make me sick. The doctor didn’t seem too concerned about it since they caught it now. When the doctor left, I was grateful. I was done talking to him anyway. Even though he was just doing his job, a part of me hated him. He just gave me the worst news of my life, and I wasn’t about to be nice to him. When he was gone I got up and went to the bathroom. My mom wanted to hug me but I didn’t want to be hugged. I knew if she hugged me I would start to feel it, and I didn’t want to. At this moment I just wanted to be. I wanted be in this state of shock where I didn’t feel anything. But more than that, I wanted to rewind time. I wanted to go back and make sure I did absolutely everything perfectly in my pregnancy… but according to my doctor that wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

When I returned to the bathroom I was hoping it was all a dream. Sadly, no. My mom was still crying. From this point on I blocked everything out. As I write this and try to remember, I really can’t. My mom tells me that the tech was very shaken up and said he was sorry, he wasn’t expecting this at all. He shared with my mom that him and his wife had lost two babies… one at 6 weeks and one at 7 weeks. My mom also tells me that I called into work and got the night off since I was suppose to go in at 5pm. I guess I also texted Charles and told him what happen. Looking back I probably should have been more gentle than I was, but in this state of shock I was not thinking clearly.


Somehow, we ended up at my doctors office. I have no recollection of how we got there. I do remember going up to the front desk of the office.

“Can I help you?” The receptionist asked. I stared at her. I opened my mouth but nothing came out. I started shaking. I couldn’t speak without crying, and I didn’t want to cry. So I stood there with my mouth hanging open probably looking like an idiot. My mom came up behind me and told them why I was there. They told us to have a seat and I would get called back. I sat in the waiting room feeling like every pregnant belly was staring me in the face. This was not fair. I couldn’t sit there. I couldn’t sit still because I knew all my emotions would hit me. I went to the bathroom. When I returned they called me back. Thank goodness.

We followed the nurse down the hallway to our exam room. She asked me for my name and birthdate as I stood on the scale. I then sat on the table and stared at the floor. This is not happening, I repeated in my head over and over again. Shock and denial were what comforted me in this moment. The nurse asked me about any medications I was on.

“Prenatal vitamins…. well I guess not anymore obviously!” I said with a passive aggressive tone. I didn’t know why I was so rude to her. She didn’t do anything wrong, I was just mad. She explained that I could still be on them if I wanted to. Some women just take them as vitamins whether they are pregnant or not. She then came over to me and took my temperature and my blood pressure. She asked about cramping and bleeding and I told her I had had none. She then looked at me with sad eyes. These weren’t the same eyes that the radiologists gave me. These were empathetic, I’ve been where you are and it hurts eyes.

“Can I give you a hug?” She asked. I nodded my head yes even though I knew what was coming. She hugged me and held me and I felt it. My world shattered. Everything I had hoped and prayed for was gone. This pain was unreal. It hurt. My baby was gone and I didn’t even know it. I sobbed in anguish and cried all over her scrub top. She held me tight for a long time. She said she had been there and even though I wouldn’t believe it now, I would get through this. After she left I met the doctor on call. He was very clinical and not at all compassionate. He said he was sorry but his tone and body language said he didn’t care. He gave me three options. He said I could allow my body to pass my baby naturally, I could take a pill that would speed things along or I could have a D & C procedure where they remove baby and the dead tissue. I chose to have a D & C.

When I got ready to leave the exam room my mom gave me a hug. She said she loved me. I melted into her arms and sobbed. I couldn’t believe this was happening. As we left the office I walked through the waiting room. Tears shed down my face as I felt like I was moving in slow motion, and yet all I wanted was to get out of there. I wanted to get away from the constant reminder that I was still pregnant but my baby was gone. As I walked past the pregnant women in the waiting room one of them locked eyes with me. She grabbed her belly that looked to be about 6 months along and covered her mouth. The emotions of shock and devastation came over her face as she looked at my tear stained face. She knew. I kept walking. Even though no words were exchanged I can imagine that if I had stopped she would have said “I’m sorry and I’ve been there too.”

“There is no love without loss. It’s a package deal.” – Brad Pitt