I am the Face

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. And I always try to write a little something about that. Why do I write every year? Because every day, more and more women experience this loss, and I know that in the early days after my own miscarriage, I was desperate for information and desperate to know I wasn’t alone.

I never considered myself a candidate for a miscarriage. I was incredibly misinformed, and I had already had one normal, healthy pregnancy. I think it’s fairly common for women to not know it’s a possibility, and also to think that it’s rare and that no one wants to hear about it or talk about it.

So, I write. I write to let women know that you’re not alone. You’re not responsible for what happened. And there are those of us out there that are glad to listen and willing to talk. And also to let you know that you are free to grieve for as long as you need, and that no matter what happens, you will never forget the baby you lost. My miscarriage was over 5 years ago now, and I still think about that baby every single day. This is normal, and totally fine. But also, you will learn to move on, to put the loss behind you and live life again.

Take time out of your day today, or any day, and think of your friends who have gone through a loss. Give them an extra hug. And send your most positive vibes out for those women you don’t necessarily know, and those who suffer silently.

iamtheface_boy

Time Marches On

At the beginning of the last school year, a month or so after classes started, there was a new kid in Bowie’s class. I’ll call him C. He was put in the desk next to Bowie, and the two hit it off immediately. So much so, that C was moved to another desk entirely by the end of the day.

They were in cahoots right away. They were partners in crime. Allies. Joined at the hip. A duo unified against the outside world. From the moment they met.

Their energies are very similar, their interests almost identical. They played together every recess. There were playdates upon playdates. And as they grew to become the best of friends, we became close with C’s parents as well. And they actually helped us through a very difficult time this past spring.

The thing that keeps this from being perfect is that C’s family was here for C’s mom’s job, and were only here for the year. Meaning, they go back home on Friday. And home is Canada.

We have been promised a warm welcome if we ever find ourselves there, and we will probably plan a visit at some point. But for Bowie, it won’t be the same. His best friend will be thousands of miles away, not sitting across from him at the lunch table.

Bowie struggles to make friends. The combination of his sensitivity and emotional extremes and shyness make for a hard nut to crack. Most kids give up pretty quickly. C was an exception. He wanted to hang out with Bowie, and he accepted Bowie as he is.

We’ve told him that C is moving away. But, I don’t think he understands the real facts of the situation. And I’m really afraid of the day that it does all sink in. Especially since it will be the beginning of a new school year, and last year was, well, not awesome.

Have any of you had to handle this sort of situation before? With the age 7-ish crowd? When I was a kid, I was the one that was always the one moving away, so while I know what it’s like to have to leave a friend, I think watching a friend go might be a different sort of experience. I think he’s too old for me to get a book on the subject too, he’d probably just roll his eyes at me, and I’d seem insincere in my empathy.

I know we can’t protect them from everything. But, I’d like to, you know, soften the blow.

Help, Intertubes!

I Am the Face

I still think about the baby I miscarried. Every day. Some days, just a fleeting thought. Other days, I cry a little bit about it. It’s hard to believe it’s been 2 1/2 years, because sometimes it can still feel like it just happened.

In the days shortly after, I thought that if I could just get pregnant again, I could forget all about it and move on. Nine months later I finally got pregnant with Ferris, and I did not forget all about it, and did not move on. Quite the opposite, actually. Not only was I fraught with worry for the ENTIRE pregnancy that something would go horribly wrong, but I also felt so guilty for being so happy to be pregnant again. That maybe at some point I actually would forget the baby I miscarried.

Then I thought when I just had the healthy baby boy in my arms, it would help me stop being sad at least. But then, Ferris arrived, and nope. I didn’t stop being sad. Of course I was, and am now, a lot less sad than I had been before, but there’s still a little bit of hurt that lingers.

Today is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. Looking back, the one thing I wish more than anything else (aside from not miscarrying to begin with) was that I had been exactly that: more aware. I was completely clueless. And wrote on my blog at just 7 weeks that I was pregnant. So my loss was fairly public. Which was good in some ways, not so good in other ways.

Miscarriage is something that just isn’t talked about, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. It happens to so many women. It happens to one in four pregnancies. ONE IN FOUR! So why are we keeping ourselves so in the dark about it?

Of course I knew it was a possibility. I had heard about it, knew a little bit about it. But I so naively thought it was something that only happened to women with fertility issues. I can’t believe I thought that! And I’d been pregnant and had Bowie, no issues at all, so I thought I was in the clear. I can just get pregnant again, nothing to worry about at all.

I know why no one talks about it: it’s unpleasant. To say the least. It’s a total downer. Its’ awkward. How would that conversation even go? It’s not information you’d necessarily pass on, unless someone you know is actively trying, or is newly pregnant. So what would you say? “Hey, congratulations on your pregnancy! You know you have a 20% chance of losing it, right? Just wanted you to know.”

But, something we can do is come together on Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day, share our stories, and hope that we can simply bring a little comfort to a woman who miscarries tomorrow, next week, next year. Help her feel a little warmth in her coldest hour, knowing that she’s not alone. And it’s not her fault. And she can grieve in whatever way, and for however long, she needs to. Because the pain can linger for a long, long time. And there’s nothing worse than dealing with that kind of pain, and thinking you’re alone. You’re not alone. We’re here. All of us. You will get through, and you’ll be ok.

 

Unpleasant, but Important

I just ran across a parentings site forum in which a woman made a case for more openly discussing miscarriage and the chances thereof, only to be accosted by several women telling her how they “just don’t want to think about these kinds of things while I am pregnant, thank you very much.” And “how dare you bring this kind of thing up with a bunch of pregnant women?”

I’m here to tell you, you MUST think about it. Talk about it. Learn about it. It’s a very common occurrence, a very real possibility. Of COURSE we don’t WANT to think about it, it’s unpleasant. But, it’s also a fact of life.

The one thing that still nags at me about my miscarriage was that I, too, just didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t consider it a possibility or a reality. Because no one had sat me down and had a serious talk with me about it.

As a result, I told the blogosphere that I was pregnant at just 7 weeks, and then had to suffer a very public loss of that pregnancy. Granted, it was a hell of a lot easier to come to terms with, having had so many people there to support me and welcome me into the group of survivors. But, it would certainly have felt less humiliating had I just waited it out.

I didn’t know how common it was. I didn’t know it could happen to, yes, even me. And then afterward, I couldn’t figure out why all the moms and doctors and pregnancy experts all kept so quiet about it.

It’s an ugly topic, stuff your nightmares are made of. But, education is your best defense when those nightmares become reality.

Don’t just stick your fingers in your ears and scream “LA LA LA LA LA!” Please don’t be afraid to take pregnancy for everything that it is, the good AND the bad.

Loss

I’m trying to find a way to discuss what happened to us over Easter weekend with the blogosphere, but I’m not even sure what to say to myself quite yet. Here goes…

I went for my first prenatal appointment on Friday morning. The OBGYN’s little ultrasound machine wasn’t picking up a heartbeat in my little bean, and he/she was measuring 7 weeks, and I was 10 weeks. So, they sent me down a floor to radiology, where the more powerful ultrasound machines could give us a better picture. We had to wait in the radiology lobby for almost an hour. The longest hour of my life. Well, except for the next hour after that when results were being read and sent back to the clinic.

Then, they laid the bad news on me: bean had no heartbeat, and had probably passed away two weeks ago. And it’s not my fault and it’s normal and blah blah blah. Nothing anyone said to me for the rest of that day or the next made me feel better about it.

I had to take some medication to get things moving. It had already been two weeks, and they were concerned about things still being inside me. THAT was easily the worst part of all of it. To have to endure the physical pain in addition to all the emotional pain I was already in. Though, it has made it easier to begin healing now that it’s officially over.

We are hopeful for the future, and know that having a successful pregnancy later on is very probable for us. It’s just getting through the here and now that’s giving us some trouble. Trying to sort out why this happened, and how we can make some sense of it, if any at all. Trying to pick up the pieces of our lives and our hearts and move forward.

Loss. And Gain.

My husband’s uncle passed away last Monday evening, suddenly and fairly young. And I’m not sure what was harder, grieving or watching him and his family grieve.

I boarded the plane to Chicago thinking, “All right, I just have to make it through a funeral with a 15 month old, that’s all. Then we’re back home.”

But, what I had forgotten was I have known my husband’s family nearly as long as I’ve known him, about 8 years now. And they’re a very tight-knit family. And they brought me in immediately, from day one. His uncle included.

So, when we arrived and attended the wake, it hit me like a ton of bricks. But, the kiddo was remarkably well-behaved. Almost as if he knew. And thank the Lord for that. It was so wonderful to have my family there. And now, more than ever, I know that they are my family.