Sunday, November 14, 2010

Miscarriage, Separation, Feeling Melancholy, and...Being Thankful

Miscarriage is an interesting thing. It happens to you and the first time, it usually blind-sides you- surprises the hell out of you and shocks you. Usually, it’s something you’ve never given thought to. We think of pregnancy and we think of 9 months. At the end of that 9 months, we think of a healthy baby. That’s the way it’s supposed to work, right? But that idea is not entirely realistic. In reality, and perhaps surprising to some, miscarriage is quite common. How common? About 10-25% of all medically documented pregnancies end in miscarriage and it’s thought that as many as 30-40% of all fertilized eggs end up as miscarriages- so early that the women mistakes it for her normal period. My point? My point is…It happens. And usually, it takes having a miscarriage or knowing someone who has miscarried, for you to figure it out. You can be young, completely ‘normal’ (whatever that means…), completely healthy, and do everything right, yet still miscarry. Crazy, right?

My very first pregnancy was a miscarriage. I was newly married, young, and completely healthy. After the whole experience, it surprised me to learn what a common occurrence it was. And while I understood, while I never questioned it, it still stayed with me. It’s of course one of those experiences and memories in life that stay with you. With my subsequent pregnancy, which would thankfully be Aubrey, I was constantly on-guard, constantly keeping watch…Every cramp, every twinge, every trip to the bathroom, subconsciously preparing myself to see that initial tiny speck of blood. But of course it never happened. In the end, I had a somewhat uneventful pregnancy and a healthy baby girl. Very interesting though- I remember how I felt after she was born. As a new mom, the concept of motherhood and having a baby of my own was not as connected as what it was once having a baby was a tangible reality. In other words, once she was in my arms, the reality of miscarriage was that much more stinging. It may not have been a fetus, it may not have even had a heartbeat…it’s not necessarily feeling like you lost a “baby.” That’s not the sad part of it. The sad part is the potential. Thinking, and now as a new mom, seeing the potential of what could have been. That reality was sad. But then I realized that that baby I now had in my arms would not have been the same baby if I had carried the other pregnancy to term. Things would have been different- different egg, different sperm, different time in my life. Nothing would have been the same and now this new being before me would not have been my reality.

A year and a half later and I was pregnant with Ethan and you would think having had a normal, successful pregnancy would have eased my mind. I did go on to have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby #2, but I learned, through that experience and through since supporting other women through their pregnancies, that a miscarriage stays with you. It makes it real. You never quite let down that guard because you’ve been there and you’ve experienced that as your reality.

Now, after we’ve experienced the excitement of finding out we were pregnant, and anticipated the months of pregnancy ahead, we’ve just as quickly found out that we miscarried. In an instant, the excitement, the happiness, and the anticipation were taken away- only to be replaced by a host of other emotions. First thing I thought were my own words from my previous blog, haunting me, yet reaffirming their truth-

“…I feel that same intricate delicacy for the life within me. Everything in life and the outcomes that transpire are ever so fragile. We, like a developing life, are hanging on by a thread. Will it work out? What will tomorrow bring? We don't know. The thread is delicate and can break at any given moment, sending us down another path, or taking it all away.”

Am I sad? Slightly. Am I disappointed? Extremely. Do I understand? Entirely. My previous words say it well. I acknowledge and believe that I, myself, play only a small role in my life. I’m not the most devout, I’m not the best Christian, but I believe and serve the Lord. I believe that He has a purpose much greater than what I can and ever will understand. My knowledge is oh-so limited and I know better than to question something when I do not know the greater plan. So I accept it for what it is and I look at my life and realize that really nothing is what I had envisioned, but yet I have the most beautiful, wonderful life. So I trust in what got me here.

The hardest part? Not having Glen. I hated that he was not here with me. I hated that he could not see that ultrasound. I hated that he was not by my side to hold me through the physical pain. I hated that I had to feel the disappointment without him. He was in another world- literally a world apart from the goings on of Wasilla, Alaska.

I learned that while I am an incredibly strong, independent person, life is just not the same without him. I do not…I cannot…be without him. I refuse. His love and his support and his presence…they are everything to me, they strengthen and fuel me, and catalyze me. Doesn’t matter what gets thrown at us- I can handle it and accept it, but I want him beside me.

But above the disappointment, above the loneliness, there is an incredible feeling within me of thankfulness…

I’m thankful for the beautiful mess of life that I’m here to experience.

I’m thankful for the love that surrounds me.

I’m thankful for even just the potential of life and the ability to get pregnant.

...And to exerience all of this with the love of my life.

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