“Hi. How are you?” “Hey girl, just wanted to check in.” “Been thinking of you. How are you holding up?”
*deep breath in*
I’ve been getting these messages a lot over the last couple months. It really makes me so happy to know that I have some seriously amazing people who care about me. Some women I’ve never met in person; my internet friends. I generally stare at the message for a couple of minutes, sometimes I even close it out so I can come back to it later. What do I say? Do they want to know the truth? Or do they want to hear that I’m ok? What. Do. I. Say?
I say “Hey! Thanks so much girl. I’m doing ok. Just snuggling my boys extra and enjoying every moment with them.” Sometimes I’ll add in a little detail of my physical changes; depending on the person. Sometimes I’ll add in a little bit of my emotional state… that’s totally dependent upon how I’m really feeling in that moment.
How do I really feel?
So very heartbroken. Crushed. Lost. Confused. Sad. Angry. Tired. Numb. Truth be told, when I’m alone, I cry. A lot. That is something that I have told not a single person. Not even my husband. My dear, sweet, incredible husband… and now I’m crying all over again.
I know you’re wondering “Wait, what happened? What’s going on?” Well, I’m about to tell you. This will be long because in order to understand how I’m really feeling, you need my history. Maybe not all of it, as that’s a story for another time, but at the very least my history of trying to conceive. That’s right, this has to do with babies. Our struggle to make, carry and birth babies that we so badly want.
When I first met my husband, Z, I knew very early on that he was the man for me. I knew that I wanted to marry him, grow old with him, have children and watch our grandkids play from our front porch swing. When he proposed to me on the anniversary of our first date, I said ‘yes’ without hesitation. Although we planned our wedding for 16 months later, we didn’t necessarily want to wait that long to have children. Well… we were already living in sin and not NOT trying anyway. What I mean is, we decided to actually try. I got a fancy little app on my phone to track my cycles and we were sure it wouldn’t be long. Boy were we wrong.
After 6 months of actively trying (and 3 months of not not trying) we became aware that this wasn’t going to be as easy as we thought. Instead of buying pregnancy tests I started buying ovulation tests. These tests were also all negative. When it came time for my oh so fun “annual visit” with my gynecologist I brought up our concerns. Sadly, she stated that there was nothing they could do until I made it to a full year of actively trying.
Fast forward to that year mark. Back to the doc I go and I was prescribed progesterone. Yet to have a positive ovulation was definitely a red flag. Then, add in that my cycles were getting further apart by 3-6 days each time. So drugs it is. If you’ve ever been on progesterone, you’ll understand the strain this had on our relationship. If you haven’t, well… it sucks. Unintentionally I was short with Z. Always annoyed, a bit over-reactive and overall not a good partner. Z was amazing through it all, very patient, incredibly kind and only once asking me to think before I act (which made me blow up, cry, then apologize and understand). I already knew what an amazing man I had, but this made me realize how truly blessed I was and how amazing of a father he would be one day.
Z and I prepared for our annual visit to see his family. Once we were there I realized I accidentally left my medicine at home and would not be able to get an extra fill. I silently cried, this could mess everything up!! Knowing there was nothing we could do, we just enjoyed our vacation. Let me tell you… we had an amazing time. That one week not taking the medicine was amazing. Once home, Z and I decided I would no longer take meds. We would just let be and let God decide when and if we would have children.
18 months. That’s how long it took for us to finally see an extra line on any sort of test. That test was a pregnancy test. Shock. Disbelief. Excitement. There was no sense in both Z and I to get upset over negative tests, so I had started taking tests alone. I cannot describe to you how hard it was for me not to call him or to jump on him as he walked in the front door. I calmly brought him to our room, sat him down, closed his eyes, then I gave him the test and said “open.” He was silent. I was a bit confused at his reaction but then, the biggest smile crossed his face “is this real?’ I will NEVER forget that smile. Ever.
We had some ups and downs with the pregnancy; I had pubis symphysis (basically my pubic bone separating at 7 months), 3 small spots on our little miracles heart and excess amniotic fluid to name a few. In the end though, it was all worth it. I gave birth to this sweet little angel. He was perfect it every way and was so loved by his mama and papa.
I will note here, that I only ever claimed to have ‘baby blues’ after the birth of our boy. My mother disappeared, I struggled with breast feeding, our boy was sensitive to dairy so I had to completely cut that from my diet. I go from working full-time and staying so busy to just being at home and watching this baby struggle along with me. Most of my friends already had kids or had no kids and I had no family around, just my husband who worked 2-3 jobs; one of which was 24 hour shifts. I was so alone.
I did not have ‘baby blues’. It was most definitely something else. Being used to wearing a mask from my emotions, I told no one. I dealt, like so many other mothers do.
Not quite a year after giving birth to my little Superman, we decided we definitely wanted another baby. We knew it may take a while so we made the decision to start sooner rather than later. I was hoping that now that I knew the ropes, now that I knew I wanted to birth at home, maybe now the next pregnancy and birth will be redeeming. Healing.
18 months. (ish) That’s how long it took, once again, to see an extra line on a test. Never seeing a positive ovulation, but eventually seeing a positive pregnancy test. I laugh now because I’m remembering Zs reaction. His love for children is indescribable. He was thrilled. I was so happy I thought my heart would explode.
I had terrible morning sickness my entire first trimester. Other than that my pregnancy was amazing. Really! I was even building a dresser the morning before I went into labor! My birth, at home, flawless. I close my eyes now and smile with pure joy tingling my entire body. I would do that again a million times. My baby, once again, perfection. Baby Batman was so loved by his mama, papa and big brother.
‘Baby Blues’ or any sort of any negative feelings were not on the radar. This baby absolutely healed me. I learned that my previous birth was not my fault, yes I may have been uneducated, but I educated myself this time. This time I birthed my baby. This time I knew the signs of tongue ties, I knew how to correct my babies latch for breastfeeding, I knew the signs of a food sensitivity and most importantly, I knew I was a kickass mother.
Life was incredible, we most definitely want at least one more child. Without doubt. Just to be funny, since the boys’ birthdays were just two weeks apart, we decided to wait til January ish to start trying for baby #3. That way they would all have birthdays close to each other. Saves us money, ha!
We knew it could take time, so trying in January was mostly a joke. January we stopped preventing. February we actually tracked. March I had a positive pregnancy test. Oh. My. Goodness. It took ONE TRY?!!!! Complete shock! Z said he wouldn’t believe me until I took 10 tests. I took two more, both positive. Wow.
I told a couple close girlfriends, Z told his mom and we told little Superman together. We were so thrilled. What a blessing to not have to struggle again!
Just passed the 8 week mark… I miscarried.
I’m not entirely sure I can describe my feelings after the miscarriage. I was sad, yes, but there was something more than that. Almost a sense of… I don’t know.. did it really happen? I ended up going to the doctor because some symptoms prior to the pregnancy were amplified after the miscarriage. That story is a post for another time.
After several months, my fancy period app showed that I was within my ovulation range. To be funny I tested, it was on the bathroom counter from baby batman playing with them so maybe it was a sign. It was positive! The first positive ovulation test I have ever had. Shocked, excited, so thrilled. I told Z he was getting lucky that night, we had a good giggle… but we also had a good night 😉
The day before I was supposed to start my period I took a pregnancy test. Why? I have no clue, just felt like I needed to take one. Positive. Oh. My. Goodness. It’s positive. It’s really really positive!!! I’m crying at this point because I’m so so happy. I want this little baby so bad. Our last one. Our last try.
I tell Z and he was just as thrilled, he again wanted me to take 100 tests to be sure. And to take them every day. Just in case. We were going to wait before telling family. But wow, I was SOOO happy.
This baby is definitely sticking around! I was SO sick. Oh so sick. I ended up at Urgent Care at 9 weeks. I hadn’t eaten in 2 or so days, can’t remember. I could barely sip on water, but I tried knowing how important it was! Urgent care gave me IV Fluids, anti nausea meds and sent me for an ultra sound to check on our little bean. Ultra sound showed a heartbeat! A little blip on the screen, but it was there, my heart soared. I endured another week of awful sickness, a week of just a little yucky, and leading up to week 12 I was feeling much better. Which was great because I was planning a visit to see family for Thanksgiving. I’d be 12 weeks, it will be safe to announce to them. All at once. My family.
Our trip was amazing! It was just me and the boys and we had so much fun. I really love my family SO much. I can always feel how much they love us when we are there. It was such an amazing trip. The boys and I got home Saturday night at about 11pm. I hugged my husband so hard and went right to bed.
Sunday morning I wake up and it’s around 1030am. Z let me sleep in. Love that man! We had a great relaxing day. In the evening I went to the bathroom, and I noticed a little pink when I was done. I wasn’t too concerned, pink is ok, blood is not. The next morning Z went on duty, the spotting continued, worsened actually. By that evening there was red, blood, more than just spotting. Around 7pm I started having cramps, and more discharge. At this point I was talking with my midwife. Cramping along with the spotting isn’t a good sign. We set an appointment for her to be at my home in the morning. I told her I was just going to try to sleep. I needed rest.
About an hour later my cramps worsened. More discharge. A lot. Both boys are in bed, Z was on duty, I’m here alone knowing what is likely happening. These aren’t cramps, as more time passes I come to realize I’m having contractions. It was about 10:30pm that I messaged a friend of mine. “Can you come stay with the boys? They are sleeping. I need to go to the ER.” She asks whats wrong and I just say “I think I’m having a miscarriage. I feel like I’m having contractions.” She got to my house in less that 10 minutes. Still in per pajamas. I will forever be grateful to that woman.
As my friend walks in the door I give her a quick update; boys are sleeping, little superman knows I need to leave for a little bit, baby batman will likely sleep through the night, Z is leaving work and will meet me at the ER. I say “Umm, I just need to use the bathroom real quick before I go.” This is where I fall apart. This next paragraph you can skip if you don’t want the details.
In the bathroom, I had another contraction, this time I had the urge to push. I pushed. And a huge clot comes out, followed by what I now know was the placenta. I started to sob. Let me add in here, I don’t cry often, and when I do it’s just tears. I’m more of a silent cry type of person. But just before 11:00pm, Monday November 27, 2017, I sobbed. That body convulsing, breath stealing, throat closing sob. I let out a cry “No! No, no, no, please no.” More clots passed, blood, clots… this was it. This was my baby. Our last one, the one we wanted so badly like the 3 before. I cleaned myself up and walk out of the bathroom. I couldn’t flush, how could it?!! My friend sees me and just walks to me and gives me this perfect hug. Not so hard I wanted to push away, and not so soft that it wasn’t comforting. After a moment, this incredible woman does the most amazing thing, she helps me gather the pieces that very well could be my baby. No question, she just goes for it. She knew.
I had called Z and told him what happened “Hey, just come home, I just passed the placenta.” He was so calm “Ok, I’ll see you in a bit, love you.” I had gone to the bathroom 2 more times before he got home, My friend still there, helping me, talking to me and telling me her struggle with multiple miscarriages. I had calmed at this point, she was helping me. Z got home at about 11:30pm, he walks in and we just hug. No crying, no talking, just a hug. We’re what I guess you can say realists. There is literally nothing we can do now but to let it pass. No sense in falling apart, we have two healthy children upstairs that still need our love and attention. My friend stayed a bit longer and we all chatted for a bit before she headed out.
I went upstairs, showered and hopped in bed with my husband. We didn’t say much, we just faced each other, held hands and fell asleep. Everything was going to be ok.
The next morning I had to update my online mommy group, I was asking questions the night before and I know they were worried about me. Most of them know our struggles, they were heartbroken for us, their kind words meant so much to me. We went on with our day like it was any other day. Breakfast, play time, Z went to the gym with little superman, baby batman went down for a nap… it was then that I was alone. I cried.
Over the next week I would cry nearly any time I was alone. In the shower, during nap time, in the bathroom while blood is just flowing out of my body, in the car, at night watching This Is Us and seeing Kate go through her miscarriage… I was a mess. I had to be strong, I had two boys, a business and a home to take care of. My husband works his butt off, I don’t want to add my stress to his load. I got this. Like so many times in my teens and twenties, I struggled alone. This was my choice. I suffer in silence. It’s who I am. The next week, I didn’t cry as often, things were a little easier. As the blood slowed, so did my tears.
Where do we go from here?
While chatting with a friend (via messenger) I remembered how when I was younger I used to write. Any time I had struggles or needed someone, I wrote it down. So, I began to write; that release helped so much. I just kept writing, I put everything down, all of it. I cried and cried with every hard word. It was then that I realized, this was my new beginning. I’m always the type of person to be completely transparent and always willing to help others. I want to close my boutique, I want to sew, I want to do peoples makeup, I want to bake cookies with my boys, I want to build a killer garden and have fresh eggs at my back door… and I want to share every real bump in the road with everyone.
I want you to know you are not alone. What just happened to me? To our family? Nothing. It’s nothing compared to other things I have experienced in my life. It’s NOTHING compared to what others experience. It sucks, yeah. It really freaking sucks. But I have two incredible little boys that I love so much it makes me cry happy tears. Since the miscarriage, I’ve become so obsessed with those boys. I feel like I’m finally becoming the mother I’ve always wanted to be. That obsessed mom that smothers her kids in kisses and hugs and just stares at them and smiles. That mushy mom. Yeah, that’s me.
So here I am, finally finding the right starting story for The Barti Life. Love, heartache, happiness, depression, ups, downs, and a little light at the end of the tunnel.
Am I ok? No, I am not ok. But you know what? I will be. Always.