This post was written following my second pregnancy loss. I do plan to write a follow up post very soon, about my postpartum journey after the birth of my son.
Hour glass figure, hips, tiny waist, big boobs, clear skin, luscious hair, big eyes, big butt, long legs, small feet, no stretch marks, straight teeth, and perfection. If you are a woman, odds are you have grown up hearing these unrealistic expectations, These expectations and many more, are what our society deems as perfect, beautiful and sexy.
Growing up, I was never completely confident in my body image. I struggled with acne, I was short, blessed up top and down low. I had to have braces, wear glasses and struggle to figure out how to make myself look presentable. I had to overcome the awkwardness of being a teenager, and transition into young adulthood
BEFORE I GOT PREGNANT THE FIRST TIME, I STRUGGLED WITH STRETCH MARKS, NOT REALLY ON MY STOMACH, BUT IN OTHER AREAS OF MY BODY.
In my first few weeks of pregnancy, I started to develop stretch marks on my stomach and around my belly button. After I suffered my first pregnancy loss, I felt completely horrified by the shell that once held my baby. I had gained weight, developed stretch marks, and had suffered postpartum hair loss as my hormones began to drop. I felt like a teenager all over again, as I struggled to look at myself in the mirror. I know body image can be a struggle for many women postpartum after birth, but nobody really talks about how it is a struggle for women postpartum a miscarriage.
Last summer, I took the initiative in getting back to a healthier me. I focused on my physical and mental health, as well as dedicated any spare time I had to selfcare. I started intermittent fasting, going to the gym a few times a week with my bestie, and started eating healthier. These little changes in my lifestyle helped me start to feel better. At the end of summer I went to a doctor appointment, and I was so disappointed to find out that despite my dedication to these lifestyle changes, I wasn’t losing any weight. I had gained 3 lbs. instead.
For a few more weeks I continued this lifestyle, even though I felt highly discouraged. I tried researching, online reasons why it may be challenging for someone to lose weight and become healthier after a miscarriage. To my surprise, I couldn’t find anything. I continued to feel discouraged, and not interested in even trying to be healthy any more. I figured, what was the point? I started to have the mentality of, my body is ruined, and I don’t even have a healthy baby to show for it.
When I was about ready to give up, a conversation with a dietitian encouraged me more than any conversation I had with anyone else. I went to a WIC appointment after my second loss. The dietician asked me questions about my diet, physical activity and mental health. I explained to her that I try to eat right, do intermittent fasting, excericise, struggle with hypothyroidism, and still have yet to see any results after both my pregnancies. The dietician listened and was very understanding. She disclosed to me that she too has hypothyroidism, she has had a miscarriage and a healthy pregnancy and also struggles with anxiety. She explained to me that unfortunately it can be very challenging after a pregnancy whether you give birth or suffer a pregnancy loss to lose weight. It is often hard for women physically because of the hormones that linger after pregnancy. It can also be challenging to lose weight in general if someone struggles with anxiety, depression or grief because our bodies like to hold on to the extra fat, almost as a protection. She encouraged me not to give up and that it can definetly take a while, especially if I am struggling with all these things. She also suggested eliminating late night snacking, drinking more water, and getting plenty of rest.
I’ve learned a lot about body image since my first pregnancy. For one, pregnancy affects a lot of things in a woman’s body. Anything from a woman’s mood to her thyroid, weight and blood pressure can be very effected. I’ve also learned that weight gain isn’t always your fault. Sometimes as much as you try to lose weight, there can be certain factors that affect how fast you lose weight. Learning this eased my anxiety and discouragement. For weeks, I was beating myself up about my weight, when in reality I was truly doing all I could do. So if you are a woman and you too are struggling with postpartum body image, please show yourself some grace. It’s hard losing weight, but it can be extremely hard when you have other physical and mental struggles going on.
SO, DON’T GIVE UP. EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT SEEING RESULTS, AND EVEN IF THE SCALE IS DISCOURAGING, IF YOU ARE INTENTIONALLY TRYING TO BE HEALTHIER, AND PUTTING YOUR HEALTH FIRST… YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE.
This month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. As many of you know I have experienced two losses and now our Rainbow Baby is on the way. Because of this I would like to share some resources I created at the time I was going through my losses in 2019.
1. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH FRIENDS AFTER A LOSS?
This seems like a very broad question, but I will try and answer it as best I can. I had many friends after my loss show compassion, while I had others who lacked empathy. I think the best advice I can give you is just to be honest with your friends after a loss… as hard as that might be. Be honest about how you’re feeling and doing. Don’t sugar coat it and say “I’m fine.” When in reality you’re not.
Secondly, I would also suggest being honest about telling them what you need. If you need company, invite them over. If you need to be left alone, tell them and be willing to set that boundary. I guess the biggest thing I am trying to say, is just be honest. I really struggled with being honest and open with my friends and family after my miscarriage. I didn’t want to tell people what I needed because I was stubborn and didn’t want to ask for help. Eventually, I swallowed my pride and started being honest and asking for help. Once I did this, it allowed many lines of communication to open which helped me and my different relationships entirely.
2. WHAT WERE SOME THING’S THAT PEOPLE SAID TO YOU THAT WERE HELPFUL AFTER YOUR MISCARRIAGE?
After my miscarriage, I dealt with a lot of people who either didn’t know what to say, or said the wrong thing. However, there were a few people who said things that were truly helpful and sincere during my grief. I am currently writing a whole post covering this question. However, I will share with you now a few things that were helpful after my miscarriage.
I really appreciated it when people said things like…..
I’m sorry for your loss.
My heart breaks for you.
I’m here for you if you need anything.
I’m praying for you.
It’s okay to be sad. You grieve the way you need to grieve.
3. ANY ADVICE FOR FIRST DAY BACK AT WORK AFTER 20 WEEK MISCARRIAGE?
For the person who sent me this question, I first just want to say I am very sorry for your loss. I also want to say thank you for reaching out to me. I guess the best advice I could give to you or anyone is to be gentle on yourself. It can be extremely challenging returning to work and everyday life following a miscarriage or any sort of trauma. I would encourage you to ease into this transition back to normal slowly. I would also like to encourage you to be kind to yourself. Reward yourself for little victories.
4. DO YOU FIND IT DIFFICULT WHEN OTHER WOMEN AROUND YOU ARE PREGNANT?
Yes! It is extremely difficult. Parts of me wishes so much that I was still pregnant, while other parts of me worries and has anxiety for women I know who are pregnant. I hope and pray all the time that they don’t experience the loss that I had.
5. WHAT HEALING LOOKED LIKE, WHAT YOU LEARNED, HOW YOU CAN USE YOUR EXPERIENCE TO HELP OTHERS?
Healing I feel is a life long process. It is enveloped in the grief process, and is felt and experienced in many moments throughout a life time. It changes you. The biggest thing about healing, is allowing yourself to feel the grief. Allowing this anguish allows us as humans to move forward in life. You gotta feel it. You gotta face it, or you won’t move forward. I found healing in various activities including writing, knitting, spending time with friends and family, taking pictures and so much more. It’s a never ending journey.
6. HOW DID YOU GET BACK TO FEELING LIKE YOURSELF AGAIN?
This is kind of a complex question, but I think the simplest answer is I got back to feeling like myself again by choosing to move forward and choosing to heal. I chose to talk about my miscarriage. I allowed myself to cry. I encouraged myself to write my story.
7. DO YOU REGRET TELLING PEOPLE YOU WERE PREGNANT BEFORE YOU MISCARRIED?
Not really. This thought crossed my mind after we lost the baby, but I’m thankful people knew I was pregnant and then lost my baby. I’m thankful I had people around me for love and support.
8. WHY ARE YOU SO AMAZING?
Okay, so my bestie sent me this question. Haha! Thanks girl! I don’t know if I am that amazing so I wouldn’t even know how to answer that question.
Thanks for all the questions! Again I’m no expert, but I’m here to help and here to listen. ❤️
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.”
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.
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….
The night of February 26th, I was absolutely restless. I tossed and turned in bed until about 12:30am. I finally got up and started pacing. I was still staying with my parents. My dad woke up when he heard me awake pacing throughout the house. My dad kept me company and talked to me throughout the night. My cramps kept getting worse the more my anxiety increased.
Around 3am I felt the need for comfort. Food and my dad’s company wasn’t quite meeting my needs. Honestly, I wasn’t going to be okay no matter what I did. I wanted my baby to be okay, but she wasn’t. I went down to my parents basement and found the garbage bags full of baby items that we had packed away two days ago. I dug through them in the dark until I found what I was looking for. I started to get frustrated and almost give up… and then I found it. I found Mackenzie’s quilt. The quilt that Alli made for her. The very first gift that Mackenzie received, but would never be able to use. I pulled the quilt out of the bag and hugged it tight. This is exactly what I needed, something to hold.
I headed back upstairs with the quilt in hand. I rested in the recliner chair in the living room and watched Jimmy Carson with my dad. Ever since I had received the news of our baby at the ultrasound, my arms ached. They ached and felt like I had recently carried a ton of bricks. I wasn’t sure if it was a side effect of grief or what exactly, so I did a little research. Apparently, some women experience pain and ache in their arms after a miscarriage. This is because of the psychological longing of wanting to hold their baby. This information gave me comfort. I wasn’t crazy. I was grieving a longing for my baby. Holding the quilt helped immensely. It wasn’t my baby, but it was a tangible item that gave me comfort.
By 5am I was absolutely miserable. My dad had given me 800 milligrams of ibuprofen and I was still in a boat load of pain. It hurt to sit. It hurt to lay down. It hurt to stand, and it hurt to walk. My cramps were intense and at least at a 8 on the pain scale. Every time I went to the bathroom I feared there would be blood, but there wasn’t. By 5:30am my gut told me to go to the ER. When I had scheduled my surgery the nurse said if my cramps became too painful or I was bleeding uncontrollably then I needed to be seen. So, as my dad got the car ready, I woke up my mom and we headed to the hospital. I called Charles on the way, and scared him out of his sleep. I felt kind of bad. He had two midterms that morning and I didn’t want to be selfish… but I needed him.
My trip to the ER is pretty fuzzy. I remember Charles meeting us there. I remember him holding my hand. I know I had a pelvic exam done and they said my cervix wasn’t dilating yet. I remember it was painful. I got a shot in the arm for my pain and it made me incredibly loopy. I remember the PA talking to me and telling me I was going to have my surgery tomorrow as scheduled. I also saw an ER doctor. He prescribed me Norco for my pain. He told me “Normally, it’s not safe to take when you are pregnant, but since you are not choosing to continue the pregnancy, it’s the best option.” His words hurt me. I wasn’t choosing to go forward with the pregnancy. Excuse me? I didn’t have a choice in any of this.
Even though it’s all a blur, the biggest thing that sticks out in my mind about the ER visit is prayer. I was furious with God. I had developed a hatred for Him and how He took away my baby… but at the same time I needed him. I was scared. I didn’t want to live this life but also didn’t want this pain anymore. I wanted God to either kill me or get me through because I couldn’t do this on my own. My faith was shaken but it wasn’t gone completely. I needed God to get me through this because I felt literally everything slipping out of my control.
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.
The minute I arrived at the hospital on Thursday February 28th, I started to cry. It was going to be a long day. When we walked into the building I called Charles. He was at the airport and at a lost for words. He so badly wanted to be here for me, but also wanted to respect my wishes by going on his trip. He was very gentle and comforted me over the phone as best he could. I tried my best to be strong for him. I didn’t want him to beat himself up for going on the trip even though I told him to go.
Since we arrived to the hospital early, my parents decided to go downstairs to the cafeteria to eat breakfast. I wasn’t allowed to eat since midnight the night before. I wasn’t hungry anyway. While in the cafeteria, I sat at the table waiting for Alli. She promised she would come visit me on her way to work before my procedure. I sat there snuggling my quilt trying to keep it together. I felt my tears start to well up again in my eyes. When I looked up I saw Alli walking towards me. Her face of sadness and compassion told me it was safe to fall apart. I stood up and ran over to Alli. I hugged her and began to sob. I felt my body collapse into her embrace. I could feel Alli crying too. She was heartbroken. We stood there in the middle of the cafeteria of the hospital sobbing. Some might say it was an inappropriate place to fall apart. But considering it was a hospital, I’m sure they see it all the time. In that moment, I didn’t care who might be staring or judging us. All I cared about is that my friend was here. She was the first person to know I was pregnant and she had been a huge support for me since day one. I’m so glad she came.
When I went to the Out Patient Surgery Department they got me registered and asked me for a urine sample. I asked them why they would need it. I mean…. they already knew I was pregnant. I had no energy to argue with them so I did what they said. Later a nurse named Sara came back to the waiting room to help me get prepped. She apologized that they made me give a urine sample. The system does not allow them to see what surgery I am scheduled for, therefore they didn’t know I was pregnant.
She brought me back to a small pre-op room. She asked me questions and we talked about medications and standard health information. I told her that I had a lot of questions to ask my doctor about what to expect following the D & C. Sara told me she was happy to answer any questions I may have. I asked all my questions of anything from a decrease in pregnancy symptoms, to pain, to bleeding to mental health. She was very open and honest in answering all of my questions. She also disclosed to me that she could only share from her own experience as she had suffered from 5 miscarriages. When she told me this, my heart broke for her. How are you still standing? I thought. Before leaving she saw I began to cry as I knew my procedure was quickly approaching. She looked at me and said “I know Sweetie… I know.” She then opened her arms and gave me a hug. Sara was absolutely amazing, and to this day I feel so blessed that God allowed me to meet her before my procedure.
My mom helped me undress and get into my hospital gown. I laid on the bed and covered up with a blanket. More surgical nurses and techs came in to ask me questions, start my IV and prepare me for my procedure. Alli and my dad joined us in the room about an hour and a half before I had to go back to surgery. The room was very small and crowded, but it was comforting knowing they were all there. At about 11:30am Charles texted me and told me his plane landed. I was able to sigh with relief. I was very stressed and emotional with the procedure, but knowing that Charles had landed safely before my procedure made me feel a lot better. My anesthesiologist and surgeon came into the room. They both asked me questions and prepared me for the procedure. I had peace and good vibes from both of them. I knew anything could go wrong, but I was confident I was in good hands.
My surgery was pushed back to 12:30pm. I was told that the social worker was too busy to come see me but I was still able to visit with the Chaplin. When the Chaplin came in I was kind of stunned. He looked just like my husband! The only real difference was his accent and long beard. It was so uncanny. The Chaplin introduced himself to my parents, Alli and I. He gave me some sympathy cards, a book about miscarriage, and a praying bear. He talked with me about my story, our baby’s name and my faith. He led my family in prayer, and prayed over me that I would be safe through the surgery. He prayed that the doctors would have wisdom during the procedure and that I would be able to find God again through this grief and sadness. As he continued praying my dad suddenly burst into tears. He had sadness in his face since my ultrasound, but I had yet to see him cry. Maybe he was trying to be strong for me. He cried hard, and I could tell he was trying to fight it. He held my hand. It broke my heart but also gave me joy. He loved this baby too.
After the prayer the Chaplin left and Alli left for work. The nurses came in and said it was time to say good bye to mom and dad. I squeezed my prayer bear one more time and handed it to my mom. My parents both kissed me on the head and started to cry. I tried to be brave and told them I was gonna be fine. I felt the surgical people pull my hair into a hair net and put booties on my feet, I started to panic as my parents walked away. I wasn’t ready for this. I wasn’t ready to not be pregnant anymore. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Just then it all hit me. The drugs… the wonderful, feels like you’re flying and floating on a cloud drugs. I wasn’t panicked anymore. I felt GREAT!
They rolled me to the operating room. I remember thinking my arm hurt. It was the arm with my IV. I kept saying something to the nurse and they kept trying to adjust it. When I got to the room I had to move onto the table. I laid down and tried to relax. Then I felt my other arm hurt. They kept asking me what hurts. Turns out it was just the blood pressure cuff. Then my calves tickled. I began giggling. I was loopy. I remember my surgeon getting concerned. I tried telling her something was tickling my calves. She told me it was the compressor that helps you not to get blood clots. That’s a relief. I looked up at the ceiling and realized it was all about to change. When I wake up I won’t be pregnant. This gave me sadness. I prayed to God one more time. Please God, forgive me of my sins and keep me safe in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Then I was out.
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.
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.
This post was written a year ago, and though a year has passed, I still believe it holds some truth today.
It’s okay to not be okay… and today I am not okay. A year ago today I was happy. I went to a doctor appointment that I thought would leave me joyous and thankful. Instead, it left me with every emotion imaginable, and this is when my grief first began. I was 11 weeks pregnant. I was supposed have an ultrasound and hear my baby’s heartbeat for the very first time. Instead I heard the words “I’m so sorry, we can’t find a heartbeat.” Instead of feeling joyous, I left feeling empty and broken.
My life changed that day. I became an angel mommy. I had to learn how to let go of a child that I fell in love with but didn’t get to meet. I learned who my true friends and family were. I learned how incredibly common pregnancy loss is, even though no one talks about it. I learned that there are good people in the healthcare system who go above and beyond for their patients. I also learned how the healthcare system let’s so many women like me down. I learned how to grieve, how to live, and how to be happy again. It wasn’t easy, and trust me… I’m still working on it.
Grief is a burden that we all have to deal with in this life. There is no telling how or when you’ll go through it. But we grieve because we love. It hurts because we don’t want to say goodbye. It’s confusing because we don’t know how to handle it until it happens. But more often than not grief brings people together. Whether it’s losing a parent, losing a sibling, losing a friend, losing a child, losing a neighbor, a coworker or even someone well known… it hurts, and it unifies us.
So today I am not okay. I am giving myself permission to grieve my baby. I’m not going to feel guilty for not being my best today. I’m going breathe, rest and remember what I had before I had to say goodbye, and that’s okay.
I love you Mackenzie! Daddy and I miss you so much. 💕
It’s February, and I’ll be honest. For most of this month, I have had the February blues. For many, the month of February is the love month. But for me, it’s a month of grief. In the month of February, I am always reminded of my first pregnancy loss. I wish I could let it go, and I wish I could forget… but I can’t. So, for now I am just going to push through. February is almost over. I can get through this.
Also, I apologize that I haven’t been writing as much as I usually do. Please be patient with me as I get through this month.
I can’t believe it’s almost November. Friends, where did October go? This month has been quite a struggle in getting myself motivated to write. When I get stumped, discouraged and tired; I often try to envision how I will feel once my memoir is complete. Writing a book is not easy. It can be a daunting task that I want to constantly give up on. But, I don’t dare give up because I’ve come so far and know I’m meant to do this.
Lately, I’ve just had a variety of really high highs and really low lows when it comes to my emotions, my grief and my goals. It’s exhausting. I try to look at the positive. I have a great job teaching kids everyday. I recently got named teacher of the month, which is also exciting. My husband and I are very busy, but are in a really good place. I love and adore my fur baby Rocky and things are going well for us financially as we pay off our debts.
When you put it that way, life is great and I shouldn’t be complaining. That’s when I feel a high. I feel like I can do this and it’s going to be okay. Then I think about the holidays… Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. I’m not pregnant. I don’t have a foster baby and I don’t have any living children. I see friends my age having babies, celebrating birthdays, and holidays with their families. I think about the women who have been trying for 3+ years without any luck, and fear that one day will be me. I hear moms all the time complain about lack of sleep from their infant, tantrums from their toddler, and distant learning experiences from their adolescents…. while all the while I too wish I could be sharing the same experiences.
Thinking about all of this puts me in a very low low. I get to the point where I don’t want to see anyone. I want to hide away in my apartment and forget all the moms pregnant with quarantine babies, and the parents getting their kids ready for Halloween. I want to forget it all because at times it is so hard to deal with.
So you see, I’m not making a ton of progress on my writing because of the emotional grieving tornado I am currently facing. Writing sometimes helps, but sometimes it brings up emotions and memories I’m not quite ready to relive again. I’m not giving up. Not at all. But I am taking my time with this as I continue striving forward with my goals and try not to fear for what the future might hold.
Can I be frank? September is not a very good month for me. It used to be. I used to get so excited about back to school picturess, sale items on school supplies, fresh starts and the transition from summer to fall. However, since 2019… I have viewed the month of September much differently.
September 16th, a date that will forever stick out in my mind. This was supposed to be the end of my pregnancy, my baby’s due date. But as we all know, my pregnancy ended a lot sooner than expected. As much as I would like to push past my grief, I can’t. I can’t help but wonder if my baby had lived to be happy and healthy. I can’t help but wonder if September 16th could have been my baby’s birthday. My heart aches at the person she could have been.
Not only does September 16th stick out in my head, but also the 27th and 28th. On September 9th 2019, I found out I was pregnant again with my second baby, of whom I thought was my rainbow baby. Turns out God had other plans. And through hours of pain, anxiety and grief I lost my second baby between the 27th and 28th of September.
So you see, September is really not a good month for me. I’m the kind of person that is very good at remembering specific dates. It’s a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I wish I could forget. Or even be so busy with life that it doesn’t really faze me. But that’s not who I am. I remember. Call it what ever you want, but if you ask me, this is what grief looks like.
So I apologize if I’ve been a little MIA lately. I’m grieving. Grieving doesn’t ever really stop, but just gets intense from time to time… and that’s where I am right now. So for now, I guess I am going to enjoy September the best way I can, and grieve the only way I know how… with gentleness and through writing.
19 years ago today, one of the worst terrorist attacks happened on American soil. A group of hijackers from the Middle East stole 4 comerical airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Where were you on 9/11?
I was 6 years old on 9/11. My mom and I just moved into our new house maybe a week before. I had just started first grade. Since I was only 6, I don’t remember a lot about that day, but there are a few things that stick out in my mind.
I remember being in the classroom while my teacher was teaching. I remember my brother had a nosebleed and went to the office. I remember him coming back and telling our teacher two buildings were hit by airplanes. I remember my teacher asking him to repeat it. I remember her looking really sad.
The rest of the day is blurry. I don’t remember if I stayed at school or if my mom picked me up, but I remember coming home. I remember seeing the news on for hours, replaying the footage over and over again. In my young mind I remember thinking “Why do they keep crashing planes into buildings? Someone should stop them.” It took me awhile to realize it was the same buildings and they just kept replaying the footage.
As the days followed, I remember my mom trying to explain to me what happen. I remember her being really sad and even scared to send me back to school. I remember my grandma being at our house and getting very sad and angry at the tv.
I remember that fall it was very patriotic. There were so many American flags being flown. I remember many people singing patriotic songs on tv and asking for money for the victims and families effected. I remember my teacher drawing the shape of a pentagon on the white board and explaining that a plane crashed into this building as well as the towers.
As I have reflected back on this day over the years, I have realized that I remember a lot more than had thought. I am also seeing that much of my education and childhood was certainly effected as I like many others had to grow up in a world after 9/11. I can recall numerous accounts of class conversations with our teachers about Osama Bin Ladin, terrorist attacks, 9/11, war etc.
Around the age of 16, I found an interest in 9/11. I think it is because it is a historic event that occurred in my lifetime that I somewhat remember. It truly is a sad moment in our history, but at the same time I find so much strength and resilience in hearing survivor’s stories. Though I know it will be hard, one goal I have is to someday visit Ground Zero and walk through the 9/11 memorial and museum. I say it will be hard because it is one thing to read and see the history and events of that day on a screen, but it is another to experience the location of that day and see it at that large magnitude.
Now that I am an adult and teaching preschoolers, I often wonder if anything like this will ever happen again. I hope not. I really really hope not. But if it did, how would I respond as a teacher. Personally, I don’t think I would be able to hide my sadness, as much as I would want to. I think I would try to protect and give to my kids love and comfort as best as I could… much like my first grade teacher did.
I do want to take a moment and say, I am thinking of all the people who were lost on 9/11 including the first responders and the average hardworking Americans. I am praying for all the families and friends who lost a love one that day. I also want to thank the many men and women who went to war right after 9/11 to fight for our freedom and the war against terror.
I also want to leave you with one last memory I have. This memory isn’t from 9/11 exactly but the many months after. I remember my class was on a field trip in the spring. It was very rainy and I don’t exactly remember where we were coming back from, I want to say it was from the nature center. Anyway, I remember riding the bus and playing with my friends on the bus. At some point the bus driver turned on the radio and the song God Bless the USA came on. Many of us kids started singing since this song was played often, we knew it very well. Before long the chaperones, my teacher and the bus driver were all singing to this song. To this day it still gives me chills thinking about how many of us children could not comprehend the magnitude of what happen that year, and yet we learned so much about violence, terror, bravery, freedom and how to be proud Americans.
Mackenzie Goes to Heaven is a children’s book, created for families who have gone through a pregnancy loss. It is designed to teach siblings and other children about the concept of miscarriage and how it affects a family in a child friendly way.
Not only is this story about a mother who suffers a pregnancy loss, but the characters in the book are also named after my angel babies Mackenzie and Chase, as well as my brother Matthew who passed away as an infant.
Mackenzie Goes to Heaven is available for $7.70 + Shipping HERE. Digital and Paperback copies are available.
It’s finally here! I have officially written, illustrated and published my very first children’s book! To say I’m excited is certainly an understatement!
Mackenzie Goes to Heaven is a children’s book, created for families who have gone through a pregnancy loss. It is designed to teach siblings and other children about the concept of miscarriage and how it affects a family in a child friendly way.
Not only is this story about a mother who suffers a pregnancy loss, but the characters in the book are also named after my angel babies Mackenzie and Chase, as well as my brother Matthew who passed away as an infant.
Mackenzie Goes to Heaven is available for $7.70 + Shipping HERE. Digital and Paperback copies are available.
Over my journey of blogging I have given you all a variety of blog post round ups that discuss my most liked, and viewed blog posts of that time. However, I have never actually shared with you my most popular blog post of all time.
It took me awhile to go through my archives and discover which blog post is truly the most popular… but I think I found it. My most popular blog post is Biblical Scriptures I Found Helpful AfterAMiscarriage.
One reason I feel this post is popular, is because of what it is talking about, biblical scripture. Whenever someone passes away and we are forced to grieve and live on, we often turn to God and turn to scripture.
Another reason this blog post is so popular, is also because I shared it on Pinterest. This link has been clicked 48 times since I posted it about a year ago, and that’s pretty good.
There ya go! That’s my most popular blog post. Will I write another blog post that’s more popular? Maybe someday. 😊
Pregnancy announcements… something that is supposed to be happy can hurt so badly.
I know I am not alone when I say that pregnancy announcements are hard to handle, especially if you have suffered a loss or you struggle to get pregnant. In many ways you want to be happy for the people who have announced they are expecting…. but at the same time you also want to scream “It’s not fair! Why can’t that be me?!”
For me personally, there are a lot of factors that go into how I feel when I see a pregnancy announcement. If I see an announcement from someone who I know has struggled with fertility or suffered a loss, I am immediately happy for them because I know what they’ve gone through. However, if I see someone having their 5th kid with no problems, I’m not as ecstatic as I could be. Is that right? No, probably not… but it’s how I feel.
It also depends on when they announce. Holidays, my previous due dates and loss dates are very hard for me. Therefore, if someone announces around that time, I am not usually in a good headspace to congratulate them.
I really don’t have any sort of magic trick to make pregnancy announcements not hurt because after suffering a loss or infertility, they almost all hurt in some way. I guess my advice would be to ride the wave. Feel what you need to feel. I certainly wouldn’t lash out at the people who are announcing because they really didn’t do anything wrong. But I would say it is healthy to get your thoughts out in a journal or to a close friend.
Pregnancy announcements are not easy. But it’s just one of those things we can’t control. So I encourage you to ride the wave of grief and get through it somehow.