Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Thoughts on That Time I Was Pregnant

I was pregnant once.  

That’s the thing about miscarriages and women who have them.  Unless you knew me personally, or asked if I was pregnant, or saw me in the final days of my pregnancy, with a belly about the size of a soccer ball, you wouldn’t know that I was in fact a pregnant lady for about four to five months of 2015.

You wouldn’t know that one day in June...I think it was June 1 or 2...that my boobs REALLY started to hurt because of the surge of pregnancy hormones flowing through my blood.

You probably wouldn’t know that I didn’t really have morning sickness. That I was “lucky” in that regard.

If you saw me at work, in those early days, you probably didn’t know that I was EXHAUSTED.  Way more exhausted than I ever was when I had kidney failure. And THAT’S saying something, because organ no JOKE!  

I don’t have the baby to prove it, or the Facebook status complaining about late nights and exploding diapers. But I was actually pregnant once.

I saw the words come up almost immediately on the pregnancy test I took last summer.  As soon as my pee hit the stick it lit up like a Krispy Kreme donut sign.  Not “HOT NOW” but “PREGNANT.”  

And I saw her, my little baby, during my ultrasound exams, on the screen, every two weeks because I was classified as a high-risk pregnancy.  I didn’t mind though. I liked going regularly and leaving with the impression that everything was OK.  And everything was, until it wasn’t.  

It’s not even that I thought I wouldn’t have a miscarriage. Oh no. I was terrified from the beginning.  I know people and know of people who’ve had miscarriages.  That’s what people forget to tell you when you’re growing up.  The secret.  And the secret is...don’t tell anyone you’re pregnant until it really takes. Because that pregnancy could end as soon as it begins.  I didn’t know that until, I guess about two or three years ago. I didn’t know that was the protocol.  I knew women who’d suffered miscarriages. So I knew there was a chance I could be one of them. That still doesn’t prepare you for it.  

I was 19 weeks pregnant when I started bleeding at work one morning in September.  I’d told a lot of people at this point but not everyone.  Only a handful of my coworkers knew.  The funny thing is, I had finally started showing THAT day.  

I went from bleeding at work in the morning, to bleeding a bit at the hospital, to not bleeding at all during the cervical exam. That was when they told me that my cervix was opening up.  Basically, my body was trying to deliver my baby way before it was time.

The plan at that time, I think, was the stay in the hospital on bed rest for a few months, until the baby had time to grow into something that could live and breathe on it’s own outside of my body.  But then my water broke, and literally, all hell broke loose.  

Only the people in that hospital room with Ben and I that day will ever truly know what happened, the things that were said and the range of emotions that were experienced.  I’ve tried to write out about a hundred times exactly what happened, exactly what I experienced and saw, only for the benefit of you or someone you know who may be going through the same thing.  But it’s difficult to put into words.  I’ll never be able to capture it fully on in these paragraphs.  

But the baby didn’t make it.  A combination of factors (the cervix opening, the water breaking, the age of the baby, and my immune system due to my transplanted kidney) meant that we had to terminate the pregnancy.  

I’ve been through alot in my 28.9 years on this earth.  And the miscarriage has been by far the worst thing I have ever lived through.  

When people say to me, “Oh you’ll have another one,” I think:  would you say that if my mom had just died?

I know we didn’t really know her, our baby. We barely had a name for her. But she was someone and when she died, it felt like and still feels like we lost a member of our family. It’s February now, which means that my sister’s birthday is coming up, and my birthday too.  In an ideal “everything went according to plan” situation, my daughter would either sleeping in her crib (or not sleeping, I guess) or still baking in my belly for another few weeks.   

Anyway...this blog has always been and always will be more for you, the person reading this. And not for me.  I was diagnosed with kidney disease and kidney failure at such a young age, and I just wanted to write and tell someone “HEY! ME TOO!”

So, hey, me too.  I’m in the 10 percent to 30 percent of women, depending on which internet statistic you latch onto, who’ve lost their baby before 20 weeks of pregnancy.  And it is just...terrible.   And it is OK to feel sad.  It is OK to feel sad and mad and get mad at people who tell you, that you will have another one, because it’s wildly f&*^ing inappropriate. And you should be mad at people who ask you if you’re going to have kids or when you’re going to “try” because A) it’s your SEX life; and B) you did try.  You really tried, and it’s not your fault that things didn’t work out.  

I didn’t have a miscarriage because I drank coffee (I stopped three years ago). Or alcohol for that matter. Or because I had negative thoughts, or didn’t pray enough, or was not good enough, or because it was part of God’s plan, or because I didn’t pay my car taxes, or whatever. My transplanted kidney didn't even cause the miscarriage. It was working fine! The thing is, it's the same with miscarriage as it was with my kidney failure. I had a miscarriage because life is hard, and sometimes terrible shit happens.   

When the miscarriage happened, I really doubted whether I would ever be able to be happy or smile again or laugh again.  Guess what...I have.  I still think about how I was pregnant every day.  I feel sadness but it’s not this heavy weight anymore that just rests on my chest every day, making it hard to breathe and get through the day.

I still want kids, but it’s weird.  In October, I thought for sure that I would have wanted to be working on my second pregnancy by now. But it’s almost like  I’m even more aware of the fact that... I don’t have children...and I'm OK with that??? I'm going on vacation in a week. I told a friend recently that it was almost as if in the midst of my sadness, I woke up and realized that I don't have children. Which means I can do whatever the f*&k I want... LOL See. My sense of humor did come back.

The last thing I want to write is...that the good thing about being pregnant once and then not being pregnant is I’ve realized, that I have A) the best family in the whole wide world and B) some pretty exceptional friends.  YOU PEOPLE, you know who you are (and I HATE when people write that but whatever, it's true LOL)...make all these days, even the super sad ones, worth living.

This awesome card from Emily McDowell says it all.