My Miscarriage

I mean, we both lost the baby.

It’s not my burden to solely bare. Matt was there. Through every Earth shattering second of it.

We went in for our ultrasound at what should have been my 9th week.

It was discovered just the week before I had some ovarian cysts and a UTI – all normal of course. I had my first ultrasound and got to see our little chicken strip. Baby was measuring small but of course dates can be off, especially when you stop hormonal birth control and don’t have a good idea of your cycles.

I brought home a picture of our baby Quade, or BBQ as I referred to it.

Pregnancy symptoms were so welcomed. I didn’t mind the bloating, (extra, amplified dizziness), feeling like I was low-key going to vomit all. day. long. I ate crackers. I quit drinking caffeine, I quit taking dangerous meds weeks before I found out. I was going to do this right. I was going be a mom. In ten months, sometime around May 16th I was going to have a warm, wrinkly, sweet smelling baby in my arms.

I bought stuff. I ignored people who said to not do too much. I ignored my doctor to just get through the first trimester. Nothing could go wrong I told myself. Matt and I have been through far too much to have anything go wrong.

In the very, very bottom of my stomach I could feel this twinge of something… I ignored it. Just because miscarriages are super popular in women in my family I was going to beat the odds. I gave up soda for this little nugget – nothing could happen to my baby.

But, it did.

We had our ultrasound and the first thing that felt strange was the tech wouldn’t let me see my baby. I asked if she could see the baby and she said she was seeing what she needed to see and when I asked about a picture, she said she would give it to the nurse because that was procedure. We excitedly made our way upstairs. Blissfully fucking ignorant.

I had all of my medical records printed off, my immunizations, my discharge papers from the ER with the cysts… I had our first ultrasound photo to compare and show our midwife. She came in smiling and shook our hands.

She went through some paperwork and then said it. The words that instantly steal away all the air in my lungs. “There was no heartbeat.”

My first thought was run. My second thought was, I killed our baby. My third thought was, Matt is going to hate me. My last thought was, my body has once again betrayed me and I am carrying a dead embryo inside of me and had been for probably days. I had been sitting up late, dizzy, talking to my dead baby about what I hoped for it’s future.

I had a missed miscarriage she explained. Super common. I could go home and wait for my body to catch up and pass the tissue, I could take Cytotec and miscarry at home with the hope of completely passing everything, or have a D&C. I immediately said I wanted a D&C. I felt like there was an invader inside of me. I felt physically ill. I wanted to get home to punch myself, punish myself somehow for screwing this up.

All of this was happening at warp speed. Matt didn’t have time to process. I don’t remember what he said I just remember screaming, “A D&C is basically an abortion, they just suck everything out and it’s done…”

The next thing I remember we are walking out of the clinic and Matt is holding me up.

We went to Arby’s and ate dinner.

See, the cruelest part is, with a missed miscarriage, your body still thinks you’re pregnant. So despite all of this trauma happening emotionally, I felt nauseous as I hadn’t eaten for at least four hours and bile was creeping up my throat and it was either eat or dry heave.

The next three days are a total blur. By the time I went to bed that night I had convinced myself they were wrong. My baby wasn’t dead. I would get a second opinion.

We went in the next morning and the OB we saw looked me dead in the eyes and said this pregnancy was not viable. She was compassionate too. My analytical mind needed to feel sure before I had my D&C. Less than 24 hours later and I was home from surgery.

It’s been three weeks today since my D&C. I feel so many different things. First, I have made a good start on forgiving myself. There isn’t a damn thing I could have done to save my baby. Second, I am beginning to believe I didn’t let anyone down by losing our baby. Finally, I am grateful to my body. My body knew this pregnancy wasn’t viable and nature did what it was made to do. BBQ wasn’t meant to be born alive. I am thankful my body knew what to do. I wish it didn’t have to be the case, but it is.

I am processing everything one day at a time and am looking very forward to when we can start trying for BBQ2. Because we both know we are going to be pretty fucking cool parents.

To all of you out there who have been through this, we are bonded together in this horrific trauma and I am sorry to all of us mamas whose babies were planted on Earth to bloom in Heaven.

I know my goddaughter Chevelle is taking great care of BBQ.

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My tattoo for BBQ

 

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My locket for BBQ.
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Not for lack of trying…

It’s been a long time since I’ve been here.

Not for lack of trying…

I started working for an online company in February and it’s both exhausting and exhilarating having something to be responsible for.

My mental and physical health fluctuate so frequently this time of year. Of course they are really one – intertwined, woven together into a weird little ball… which is always moving, dizzy, nauseated.

Sometimes I scare myself. Not because of what I am incapable of doing, but what I am capable of doing now. The catch 22 is now that I am ‘better’ (able to be ambulatory more often, able to fake it better, medicated), some days I am running around chasing my Goddaughter and the next day I am only capable of looking at the TV and hating my plight. If I wanted to hurt myself I could. I have to make the choice every day to keep going. Even on my good days. More so on my good days. This is what the reality of a chronic illness looks like.

It’s always there. Staring at me. My monster.

It’s why those around me see me and think, shit she is better – because until they see me they don’t think of my illness. They mean well and I know this. Why is it that the sick person always has to be patient and understanding though? Why can’t our families and friends just get it. Or try to get it. Even our care teams – my Meniere’s doctor always says how great I look. He doesn’t live with my disease though. He doesn’t get dizzy when he sits down on the toilet or bends over to pick up a book. Most of you don’t get dizzy when you turn your head to check for oncoming traffic. Most of you don’t get dizzy in the shower because, HELLO it’s a shower and there is water, movement, noise, tactile stimulation, smells… most of you don’t get dizzy just by scrolling through your emails.

I was so upset by something a few days ago I was searching for how much it would cost to buy an RV and just go… hit the road. Pack up the essentials and just leave. We could be free. At least trick ourselves into feeling free for a moment.

I had a friend recently tell me I am helping people by writing these things. I was humbled these ramblings were helping someone, in some way.

I hate the saying ‘all pain is the same’ – in a way it is true though. We are all connected in some way and this weird, shared experience with pain.

MW

3 a.m.

It’s 3 a.m. – the brain fog is so thick I don’t remember who told me “nothing good happens at 3 a.m.”… “3 a.m. it is the witching hour”.

Maybe it was my RA who invited me into her room and then asked about my drug problem. lol… such a random memory – but I was the farthest thing from a drug addict. I was the sober one. I was the sober cab. Packing 12 people into my friend Tim’s car and barely making it up the hill to campus at MSU-Mankato. I remember crushing on a guy and this girl hooked up with him and I was driving them back from a party and she was wasted and I was slamming on the breaks and her head was bouncing off the head rest. 

We all giggled when she fell out of the car and she mumbled something about the bumpy ride and then yorked in the parking lot. 

I was so independent. On my first or second night there I met my best friend Tim – we shared secrets, clothes, and my bed… not how you’re thinking. He wasn’t interested in me like that. He got me through that first year. He watched me fall in love with Matt. 

The shit you think about at 3 a.m.

My first night at UW- River Falls alone, Matt left and I was sobbing, watching reality t.v. and this girl asked me to go out for a cigarette… I called Matt and asked what to do…

That same girl (her roommate, and two other girls who lived a door & two doors down) stood up for me at my wedding months ago. 

Ironically two of those girls grew up near Mankato where I started my 2nd act… my life after high school. 

I was running from something… I ran to Mankato and sowed my wild oats. I had so much fun. I learned so many lessons. I wasn’t as crippled by my disease as I am today. I was fearless. I had a backbone. I drew lines, hard lines. I said no. I didn’t feel guilty about what felt like running away from home and completely reinventing myself. 

I could be whoever I wanted to be. I met my husband there. I kissed people. I danced. 

The memories that flood your mind at 3 a.m.

I never would have guessed I would be where I am in my life today. 

I feel guilty for just about everything now. I feel responsible for things I shouldn’t have to feel responsible for. I am the queen of cleaning up other people’s messes. 

I sowed my oats. 

We all have metaphorical trash in our backyard. 

I just don’t like having to pick up yours. 

MW

Ping pong ball these days…

My life is never boring.

I woke up this morning to the email I have been waiting for, my dissertation chair & committee member approved my prospectus – which means I can move on and start the proposal which is chapters 1 -3… all I need is for them to approve it through a software system we use and my program director to give the OK and I am good to start writing chapter 2…

I started working… it’s been six years since I have been employed. I work from home for an online company called Spec Simple, we are a virtual library for architectural and design firms – right now I work for our Perkins + Will account. It’s data entry so my fingers get a work out and I feel good about it.

I see a light at the end of the school tunnel and I am already thinking about potential post-doc work.

I worked for an hour this morning and because my supervisor was out sick and I have to wait on some training materials I had the whole day to just do nothing…

You would think doing nothing would be nice after the two weeks I have had?

It’s terrible. I should be purging stuff from closets – cleaning – researching – reading – checking work emails – …

Here I am.

Maybe I’ll meditate. I can’t sit still anymore. When I sit still I start to think and thinking is dangerous these days.

I’m going to go purge a closet. It will feel good.

MW

The ‘right’ way to grieve…

How do you grieve someone you’re not even sure if you liked?

I spend time telling people, begging people, to be easy on themselves when they grieve. I wish I could cut myself the same break. I got hours and hours without thinking of my grandmother and then BAM – a 2×4 of emotions to the face…

I had one quiet moment by her casket, alone, and I cursed at her. I swore at my dead grandmother. How insolent? I felt so many strange emotions that day… I swore at her and I apologized to her (not for cursing at her, but for feeling like I fell short…), and I whispered how much I would miss her.

How do you grieve someone you feel like you lost such a long time ago?

How do you grieve someone you still had hope for?

I always tried to put up such a front about her. I was fine with not being close to her. I was fine being angry at her. I was fine with her being disappointed in me. I was fine with her insults, jabs, and not taking the time to learn about my disease. The truth is, I wasn’t.

I am still angry. She’s gone now. So it’s over. All of her things are dispersed. There is no letter of apology, there was no sign, there was no feeling standing in her apartment. It was just over. She didn’t look like herself in her casket. They did a beautiful job on her – don’t get me wrong, she just wasn’t herself.

I bought some sharpie’s and some of us wrote something to her on her casket, I wrote her hair looked on point and that I loved her and was sorry.

I don’t dream about her. I don’t feel her in the breeze or the sun on my face or any of the other stupid shit people tell you you will feel when someone dies. She’s just gone. My lap is full of tears and missed opportunities.

I can hear her. I can smell her. I just can’t feel her.

My dissertation is finally moving forward – I’m working… I have so many things to focus on and then I catch a whiff of her perfume and it makes me angry.

The moral of this story is to love the shit out of each other. Don’t waste a single second. I’m not saying don’t be human – get mad. Have opinions. Shout them out from the rooftops. Just don’t ever make the people you love feel small and if you do, apologize. Not a non-apology apology like she was famous for, “I’m sorry you feel like I made you feel that way…” – look them in the eye and apologize because life is fucking short.

Write your kids and grandkids letters, put them in a box in the back of your closet so when you’re gone they can find them… tell them they are smart, even if you think they make terrible decisions, tell them they are worthy, because no matter what they are, tell them you love them, even if you don’t know how to show it, tell them they have a purpose, even if you don’t know what it is, tell them they are beautiful, even if you think their hair is too dark/too short/too weird/if their pants sag too low/if you don’t like their piercings or tattoos, because one day – you will be gone and how they dressed or how their hair was or wasn’t won’t mean shit.

You will be gone and they will wonder if you loved them. If you believed in them. If you found them worthy.

I don’t know the right way to grieve her because towards the end I didn’t really like her. I loved her of course – I made zero effort to be in contact with her because she was so mean. Why did I feel so protective over her when she died?

Why do I still feel protective over her?

Why can’t I feel her? Why can’t she come to me in a dream and just tell me to knock it the hell off and get over it – I mean, I can hear her saying something like that?

MW

Fever

Being vulnerable sucks. Knowing you’re being vulnerable is somehow worse. Like, we can be vulnerable with friends or family or strangers and they can go… “wow you’re so vulnerable” and we’re like, yeah… sure, I guess I was.

When you go into something knowing you’re being vulnerable it’s like… yeah, uhm, okay I am about to get super vulnerable. Ready?

I feel super human today (not super human like a super hero), I feel super… human. It’s one of those emotional days when I am super in tune with my body and my emotions and it makes me uncomfortable.

Things are always changing around me. Yet, I feel as though I stand completely still. Sometimes people who have near death experiences report having their lives flash before their eyes. For me it’s like that a lot of the time.

Another friend I get to call Dr. blah blah

Another friend I get to see over the next nine months whose belly swells bigger and bigger. Chalk full of life. Chalk full of opportunity.

These are the days when I remember I am a chronic. These are the days when everything just sucks and there isn’t a damn thing I can do to change it.

As I have said before I don’t believe in ‘attitude adjustments’ – I think emotions serve a purpose. The melancholy is serving a purpose so I will ride it out. Yesterday I tried to sleep through it but woke up feeling worse. I went to bed last night hoping today would feel different and instead I woke up dizzy, way too early, stubbed my toe, swore a lot, cried a little, and then tended to the animals.

Phyllis always vibes off my vibe so today she is moping around the house.

So I turned my music up and opened my laptop and found myself here… babbling on and sounding like a whiny child.

At least I have some insight right?

The truth is yesterday and today and who knows… maybe tomorrow are just the ebb to the flow…

I think it’s just baby fever. Or maybe kitten fever. Or fear that neither one of those things is going to happen for me. Or fear that me pursuing my doctorate is a joke. A waste of time and money…

Maybe it’s the aftermath of my grandma’s death eating away at me.

Maybe it’s my quiet fucking house.

Maybe it’s my physical illness manifesting as a mental one.

Fuck it. Future Amanda can over-analyze.

Back to the grind…

MW

Ugly

Death is ugly.

The person who dies can make death less ugly by having plans.

We’re so human we forget we have an expiration date.

We forget when we die we leave behind the pots and pans of our lives and our loved ones have to figure out what to do with our ‘things.’

To some family, stuff is just stuff.

While my grandmother’s stuff may just be stuff to some – to me, it’s my childhood. It’s memories. The knickknacks are time capsules. They are a physical representation of memories.

They represent a better time for me.

24 hours after my grandmother passed away in her sleep I was in her apartment with my dad getting her funeral dress, I touched the fabric, could see her wearing it at my wedding just months before. I retrieved her wig. I went to her jewelry box and asked (out loud), “ok grandma, what jewelry would you want to wear?” None of this was fun. This wasn’t a time to stake a claim on her things. It was fucking brutal. I could smell her illness. There were soiled articles of clothing her bathroom. I instantly felt protective of her.

We gathered some photo books to make picture boards for her funeral.

Hours later I was sitting in the basement of the funeral home. Behind me hung her funeral dress. I took notes. I made no decisions. I watched my dad and his brothers pick her casket. I had no say. I didn’t want one. I was there for one reason – my father. My father, who along with his brothers and their wives have spent countless hours trying to prove her military status, trying to recoup some of the money they have spent to keep my grandmother safe and cared for over the last year. I wasn’t there for fun. I wasn’t there as part of the planning committee. I was there because I don’t work 9-5 and wanted to support my father.

No conspiracy. No preferential treatment.

Matt and I wanted a house we could fill with family. We have done so again, and again, and have enjoyed it. When I called my husband and work, hyperventilating we decided our house would be open for the family. My folks were driving down and I wanted this to be a place where all of my family could congregate.

Tomorrow it will all be over. My grandmother’s things will be disbursed to family. Her apartment will be cleaned and someone else will move in.

The book of her life will close. That’s what I want to grieve today. I’m gonna take some time out from the human drama and just miss her.

MW