A Constructed Life

Emotions, emotions, emotions

The best way for me to process things is to write about them. Right now I’m writing all this mostly just for me, to try to get all these feelings out. I’m having a hard time sorting through this miscarriage, and I will probably be here writing about it until I find some clarity and feel ready to move on. I hope that comes soon.

It’s been 3 days since I lost the baby. I learned I was pregnant a few days before my 36th birthday, so in mid January. We were 100% shocked as we’d been using birth control. A few months earlier, in September and October, we were having conversations about a third child and came really close to pulling the trigger. Our kids were getting bigger, we missed having a baby around and thought we may want that experience again. But as time went on, we both realized a third would be pretty life altering, as we were very accustomed to life with our 2 bigger kids (5 and 3) and things would really change with a new baby in the picture. Back to diapers, even more sleepless nights, hauling a baby to big-kid activities, a baby coming on family vacations, a few more years of me staying at home, having to dig deep to find the patience, energy and time to give to another child. So for all those reasons, we made the choice to not expand our family. And we felt good with that choice. I started giving our baby stuff away. We began planning Joey’s vasectomy.

And then, in early January, I started feeling all my classic pregnancy symptoms. I chalked it up to a weird hormonal shift, but the symptoms never dissipated. Two positive pregnancy tests confirmed things.

It took about two weeks to even believe it was true, and while I had moments of excitement over experiencing the journey of motherhood again, I spent most of the pregnancy feeling completely overwhelmed and wondering how I was going to do it. How was I going to make each of my three children feel equally loved and important? How would I maintain any shred of sanity when my two so frequently tore it apart? How would I not lose myself completely into the demands of mothering three kids? I can’t say that I ever felt truly excited about this baby, just scared.

But now. Now I feel such loss. A loss of possibilities, a loss of what that life would’ve been like with all it’s craziness, stress and joy. An adventure was waiting for us and an opportunity for our family to grow in so many ways, and it disappeared in an instant.

I can’t help but wonder if it was something I did. The baby died around 7 weeks. And right around that same time I carried a heavy table up the stairs from our basement. And as soon as I set it down, I felt an odd pins-and-needles sensation in my abdomen. My doctor has assured me that it takes much more than carrying a heavy table to end a pregnancy. That this baby’s chromosomes were most likely off and nature was taking care of things in its own way. That this was not a healthy, strong pregnancy. That many, many women experience miscarriage. Even in my own circle of friends, about half of us have lost babies. For some reason, probably because I’ve had two healthy pregnancies, I never thought I would join this group of women.

I had a D and C (they remove “the products of conception”) on Monday, 45 minutes after I learned the baby had died. Their was an ultrasound technician in the room helping to guide the doctor in removing everything. I was awake, but numbed up, the entire time. At the very end, I caught a glimpse of the ultrasound screen and saw my empty womb. And I remembered with my other pregnancies, it was always my biggest fear that during the first ultrasound I would look at the screen and there would be nothing. And now that’s what I was seeing.

From the moment I saw the positive pregnancy test, this whole things has been so surreal and emotionally intense. I am eager for clarity – to understand how I really feel about this. Am I happy with having 2 children or do I want 3? Even in writing that my gut reaction is to be done at 2. I think I’m simply struggling with the baby phase of my life being over and stepping into the next phase, which seems to be a wide open space that I’m not sure how to fill. Learning I was pregnant filled that space for me. The future was no longer unknown.

I know I will get through this. That the other side is waiting for me and there will be peace in there somewhere and I will move on. The gratitude I have for my children and friends and family has been so amplified in these last 3 days. All that I love I thought I lost with the baby is still right here.

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