Friday, June 7, 2013

Anxiety rising

   I haven't written for a while and it's for a good reason.  My son has had four illnesses in quick succession.  Croup-had to go to the ER because he couldn't breathe, a week later an ear infection, a few days ago bronchitis, and today an unknown virus.  I feel so sad for my poor baby and it's hard for me to deal with it emotionally.  He has been sick a lot in the past and it has caused me a lot of anxiety.  I struggle with anxiety so much and between by miscarriage and this I feel out of control of my emotions and everything in general.
   It's upsetting to me because anxiety is something I have struggled with before and learned to cope and manage. I read an amazing book called "Calm My Anxious Heart" by Linda Dillow.  I read certain chapters in it over and over so it would be solidified in my brain and heart.  It broke down the verse, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."  I live by that verse.  I try to first talk with God about what I'm thankful for.  In a moment of anxiousness this can be challenging but there are always so many things to be thankful for.  This immediately starts to help me focus on what's truly important.  Then I talk to God about what I'm going through in the moment, what I need from Him.  I know He won't give me more than I can handle.
    Trusting God and following His word have helped me overcome my body's and mind's natural reactions in the past but now I'm struggling again.  I feel like it's just too much.  I also have a lot of time now because I have the summers off (to spend with my precious boy!) and now there is more time to think.
    Because I can feel my body reacting to this pressure (tight throat, upset stomach, mind won't stop, shaky, etc.) I asked my doctor to go back on my anxiety medicine.  I need to do this to help myself to feel normal again.  Trusting God is by far the most important part of overcoming my anxiety, but I can't always do it without medicine.  I also decided to drink less caffeine and as soon as L is better, I will be walking a lot more often for exercise.
    I have also decided to talk with a Christian therapist next week.  I know for others the experience that I had may draw them closer to God but for me it's harder to talk with Him.  I'm getting there but I need help.  I need help overcoming all the thoughts running through my mind and I need help to feel normal emotionally again.  It's so hard to admit that I need this help.  I was brought up to see myself as capable enough to do anything and to be strong.  These are good values but when you need help it's hard to admit it.  A good friend suggested seeing a counselor to me which was wonderful.  She did in such a caring and real way.  I don't think I would have had the courage or the thought process to come up with this on my own.  After crying one day for an hour and a half while my son was napping (and sick) I decided to make an appointment.  I'm admitting that I need help getting back to feeling normal emotionally.  I want to be the best mom and wife and friend I can be and I can't do those things feeling the way that I do.
    On the plus side I got my period (first time ever wishing for that!) so I know my cycles have started again.  That doesn't mean I will be pregnant anytime soon but it does give me hope that I could be pregnant again.
     To anyone reading this who is a friend thank you for your prayers and thank you for your friendship.  You have no idea the impact you have made on my life.  I couldn't walk this journey without you.  And to those of you who have lost a baby I pray that you are able to seek the help that you need to deal with all the pain and sadness you feel.  It may just be talking to a friend or talking with God.  For me, in this season of life I need more to help me overcome this grief.  I'm looking forward to weeks and months from now when I can look back and see the changes that have happened.  I'm praying that I will be a more caring and loving person because of it and that I will be closer to Jesus than I ever have been.  He is my everything.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The sadness comes on so suddenly

Just when I think that maybe I'm okay, that maybe I won't think about this baby I have another hard moment.  I hadn't cried for a whole week last week and I was feeling good.  And then I was at Bible study again and I was so desperate to share.  I want my friends to know what's happening in my life but it's so hard for me to bring it up.  We started off by just hanging out like we always do and then the couple hosting was sharing what was happening in their life.  It was so hard to hear about the small things happening in their life when I had such a big thing that I wanted to share.  What they have to share is important to me but sometimes my loss can be blinding.  I could feel my anxiety rising.  Then another couple shared and inside I was feeling myself becoming almost frantic.

Then one of my dear friends finally asked Andy and I how we were doing.  I just burst into tears.  It was such a sweet and simple question that doesn't and maybe never will have a simple answer.  How are we doing this moment?  Today?  Last week?  When it happened?  In a month?  When we are able to start trying again?  I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of sharing my heart wanted to convey that I simply couldn't do it.  I was able to tell my friends that talking helped a lot and that I did want to share with them.  They were wonderful and said we will listen whenever for however long you want to talk.  I said please keep asking me because it's so hard to bring up myself.  I know they will.

Another moment happened this past week when I was at a friend's house.  Our son L had just gotten over a brief but scary illness (We ended up in the ER because he couldn't breathe.  We found out he had croup and after they gave him a steroid he was significantly better and was only home for one day.  Phew!) so I must have been feeling overwhelmed by that and tired.

My friend's son is good friends with L and so we were there to play.  She is pregnant with her fourth baby (#2 and #3 were miscarriages) and it's wonderful to be with her 99% of the time but today (probably because I was already worn out) became hard.  She is super cute and has a white board with what week she is in her pregnancy and something about that week.  I was playing with L, glanced up, saw that on the wall, and my heart just sank.  Thoughts started running through my head, "What week would my baby be if he/she were still alive?  I think I would be just starting to feel the baby move.  I would probably have a cute tiny baby bump by now.  Why am I not still pregnant?  I want to be so much!"   Luckily L and I were playing inside and so it was just the two of us.  I was holding it together but just barely.

After a while it was time to go home and make dinner.  Andy called me to tell me he was on his way home and right away he asked, "What's wrong with L?"  He could tell by my voice something wasn't okay.  I told him what was wrong and cried and cried.  He came home and just hugged me and let me cry.  I tried to move on but for the rest of the night I was just sad.

It's so hard.  I have no idea when these emotions will come up or what will set them off.  Sometimes things you think would make me sad don't.  Like the other day when a student said, "You have two sons right Mrs. M?"  No, I thought.  I might have two sons but one I have never met.  Another time a neighbor said, "You're pregnant right?"  (Another neighbor is pregnant and was due just 4 weeks ahead of me)  I let her know that was a different neighbor and wasn't me.  And finally the time that L said "Momma, baby?  Momma, baby?"  I have no clue why he said that.  Okay, that last one did make me tear up.  But not for as long as I would have thought.

It takes so long to heal.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 1st

When I realized that I would lose my baby on May 1st, I was upset.  This was a day I would remember forever and it was a May Day?  A teeny tiny holiday that is unimportant, but still a holiday.  I wasn't going to forget this day no matter what.

I thought about it for a while and I was sad for a while.  Finally, I decided that May 1st would forever become a celebration for me.  I would make huge May day baskets with my son and my husband and we would celebrate our baby.  I would remember the life that I had inside of me that God blessed me with and I would remember my baby that left way too early.  I won't try to forget what happened or focus on what was lost.  I'm choosing to celebrate the miracle that grew inside of me and the daughter or son that I will meet one day in heaven.

A doctor who cared like no other

After what happened to me I knew that I needed and wanted to talk to my regular doctor.  When I'm pregnant I see an ob-gyn and for everything else I see Dr. Nelson.  She is simply amazing.  I have gone to her since I was 17 and she knows me and my whole family.  She knows me and genuinely cares about me.  I set up a consultation to talk about what to do going forward and knew that it would help me wade through all of my questions.

She walked into the room and hugged me.  She just held me and said I'm so so sorry.  The words she said were unlike anyone else's; she knew exactly what to say.  "This is such a huge loss Katie.  I know that nothing can replace this baby.  I'm sure you are experiencing so much grief and that's exactly what this is.  You lost someone you love"  She was simply amazing.  I felt like I was talking to my very best friend who dearly loved me. What a wonderful woman.

We talked about what happened and I shared my story with her.  She listened so carefully and wanted to hear everything from how we found out we were pregnant to how we found out we lost the baby.  She didn't rush me and asked lots of questions.

I then went on to share medical information with her.  When I first found out I was pregnant I learned that my thyroid was a little low so I was put on a small dosage of medicine to help with that.  She decided to have my thyroid tested again to see where I'm at.  I also am just barely into the pre-diabetic category and was gestational diabetic with my son but was diet controlled.  With this pregnancy I ate as if I were diabetic already to make sure I didn't have high blood sugar levels.  Dr. Nelson decided to also test where I am with this as well.  I guess we will see where I'm at in a few days.  These are tests she is doing to help me with my next (hopefully!) pregnancy.  She doesn't believe that any of these tests have anything to do with my miscarriage, but it's good to do further testing.

"So what about getting pregnant again?" I asked.  "How long do we need to wait?"  She said that normally doctors suggest a cycle or two so women know that they have started ovulating again and also for them to have time to grieve, but she said because of my history and because I know my body so well we didn't have to wait.  I have PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome) which causes me to have long cycles and can make it more challenging to get pregnant.  Because of that, I take my temperature every morning when we are trying to get pregnant to track my cycles.  So far we have been successful quickly both times, but there is always the chance that this could not be the case.  I asked her what about my body though, do I need to heal.  She responded by saying that I was fine and nothing in my body should stop us from trying if we wanted to.

I thought this was great news until I met with the surgeon a few days later for a follow up.  He said that if I were to become pregnant in the next two cycles I would have a 40% chance of losing the baby instead of the usual 20%.  Ugh.  Which doctor would you trust and follow?  The doctor you love, trust and who knows you best or the doctor who works with just pregnant women?

I know it's just a couple of months but I feel like I'm losing time.  Like we already lost more than three months with this baby and now we have to wait at least two more (more like three or four with my cycles) and then there is no guarantee we will get pregnant again right away.  And while I know that no other baby will replace this one, I still so desperately wish I were pregnant right now.  It's hard not to wish away time to when I am pregnant again.  It's hard to be patient when you are waiting for your precious baby to be in your arms.

Monday, May 20, 2013


Normal.  That's all I wanted life to be after the surgery.  I wanted to act normal, I wanted to be normal, I wanted people to treat me normal.  I thought that would make it easier, I thought it would make me feel better.  I didn't realize that's not at all I what I wanted until later.

At first, the reality of what happened to me didn't hit.  I mean I cried and felt horribly sad about it, but there were so many decisions to make at the beginning that really feeling our family's loss didn't hit.  At first there are all the medical decisions you have to make and the work decisions.  And then you have make sure that everyone who knew you were pregnant knows.  There is just a lot to do and not much time to think.

In the midst of all that doing, 2 days after we found out, our small group Bible study came over.  It was already planned and I wanted "normal" so we didn't change any plans.  I asked if we could have a game night instead of our regular study.  I just knew that if we didn't have a different plan we could end up talking about what happened the whole night.  At this point, I did want to talk about it, just not for three hours.

So, our friends came over and I acted normal so they acted normal and it was weird.  Looking back I completely understand why they acted the way that they did.  This is what I requested, this is how I was acting but it felt wrong.  This huge, life changing horrible thing had happened to me and Andy and not a word was said.  At the very end I though oh I'll bring it up now but by then it was too late.

The next day, Friday, I went back to work.  I had decided it would be better to go back to work and try to get back to regular life.  I couldn't believe how much harder it was to be at work then at home.  Not very many people knew what had happened to me and I walked around the building screaming in my head, "Do you know what happened to me three days ago?  I had a miscarriage.  I lost my baby.  Nothing in my life will ever be the same again.  Do you know?  Would you care if you knew?"  It was so hard to be around others.  My world had completely changed and someone I loved dearly died and yet the rest of the world kept right on going.  I realized then I couldn't try to make everything normal anymore.  That's when I decided to share and talk about what happened to me and my baby.  This is what has helped me heal and this is what has helped me now, three weeks later, begin to feel normal.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Navigating relationships

After the surgery there were wonderful people.  People who brought meals, sent cards, sent flowers, called me, hugged me, and people who told me I could call them in the middle of the night if I needed to.  There were so many people that cared about me.

There were friends that told me they knew there was no replacing the baby that I had lost.  Friends who told me they had no idea what I was going through but they were there for me.

Everyone was so caring and yet it was so hard to be around others at first.  Sometimes people wouldn't say a word about what had happened to me which felt so strange.  If someone else meaningful in my life had died friends would surely have talked about that.  But sometimes people didn't mention it and it hurt.  You would think maybe I would just bring it up but I couldn't.  It felt so awkward to begin talking about my loss and I felt tongue tied.

Every day talking about it got easier.  I would share with a new person what happened.  Sharing was so healing.  It felt right.  For me, sharing what I went through made it more real.  I have nothing to remember this baby by.  No pictures, nothing.  Sometimes it felt as if I was the only one who would remember that the baby even existed which made her seem unimportant.  By talking about it and sharing my feelings my loss and grief became more real and important.  It felt like others in my life were saying yes, this is a huge loss and yes you should feel grief.  It was so reaffirming and exactly what I needed.

As I shared with friends that were important in my life and as they responded by caring, I felt like pieces of my pain were healing.  Each time a friend called or wrote a note or sent flowers I felt the holes in my heart were being filled.  I desperately needed my friends and I needed them to care about me and about my baby.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The surgery

Thank goodness my surgery was scheduled for 11:00.  I don't know if I could have made it longer.  Andy and I woke up that morning and then he took Levi to daycare.  And then I sobbed.  I cried and cried and cried.  I wanted the surgery and yet I didn't want them to take my baby.  I desperately wanted to still be pregnant.  How could my baby be gone?

Andy and I got to the hospital for surgery prep at 9:30.  The nurses kept us busy with lots of questions and got me ready.  Before surgery the anesthesiologist came in and was simply wonderful.  She was so professional, so caring, and so personal.  I was scared because for surgery I was planning to be put under because I didn't want to remember the surgery.  I didn't want to remember the doctor cutting my tiny baby out of me.  But I was scared because there is always a risk when you are put to sleep and all I could think of was my son L.  I'm still a mom and I have one baby who has to have a mommy.  I shared this with the doctor and she said, "I'll be honest.  I have been in your shoes.  I was awake during my surgery and I really wish that I hadn't been."  I was amazed by her vulnerability and care for me.  I asked her if it was possible for me to still be awake but not remember the surgery and she said she could do that for me.  So that became the plan.

Before going back to the surgical room they gave me a shot of medicine to make me more comfortable.  Then when I got to the surgical room there were lots of nurses.  They were sweet and gentle.  After that all I remember is another shot going into my arm and it hurting a little.  And then I woke up in the recovery room with Andy by my side.  I felt really tired and a little dizzy.  I asked him if it was over in a hopeful voice.  He said, "Yes honey, it's over." and I cried and cried again.  I said over and over "They took my baby.  They took my baby."  It was such a vulnerable and terrible feeling.  A surgeon had taken my baby away and he or she was gone forever.

After a couple hours we left for home.  I had a headache and was exhausted so I took some ibuprofen and fell asleep.  I slept for a couple hours and woke up feeling physically normal.  I didn't feel any pain.  I was bleeding but no more than a heavy period.  At least the physical part of this pain is over I thought.