Tag Archives: loss

No Understanding

Lately each day that I’ve gotten to the end of, with my family clothed and fed and the house standing, has been a success. Whew—I forgot how tired early pregnancy makes me—especially with a family to take care of already! It’s made me miss those days when I was pregnant and all I had to do was work an 8-5 and then come home to a quiet house each evening. How times have changed!

I can’t believe I haven’t written this in almost 2 months, but I just haven’t had the time or energy. Although I’ve wished there wasn’t such a huge age gap between these kids, it’s actually been very fortunate that my first trimester hit primarily over the summer break when Steve was home, and also a break where we had no plans—just relaxed, easy family days. I felt so nauseous and tired most of the time that I doubt I could have kept up with our crazy work and school schedules.

I did make it through two short camping trips, which I feel proud about. A new symptom with this pregnancy was carsickness, so I was especially worried as we headed off on our 2nd one in mid-January, particularly because the heat and humidity have been tougher for me to take than usual, and these were Very hot days. But the place we went, the Bunya Mountains, actually felt somewhat like being in “real” mountains—the air was crisper and cooler—what a relief! It turned out to be a great little trip.

Our January camping trip
Our January camping trip

I also taught my first yoga workshop—a 3-hour class. My typical children’s classes are either 30 or 45 minutes long, so I was a bit nervous for this, but I loved it! I felt like I still couldn’t get it all in and I hope they liked it as well.

My 38th birthday came and went last month. It was perfect. I have still been struggling a lot with homesickness and feeling like we are missing out on all that our family is dealing with—so much going on right now, and much of it sad. I just feel like we’re stuck on some island in the middle of nowhere with no way to participate in any of it. But on my birthday, I felt so much love. My little family here made a great fuss over me. It was actually my first day home alone with both boys in ages, as it was Steve’s first day back at work. They wore me out—holy moly! But they were great and we all went out for a quick dinner that night, which was fun.

Friends and family near and far truly made an effort to make me feel special. I even got one card in the mail! I miss mail. My sweet friends here planned a dinner out that week as well. It was all just lovely—couldn’t ask for more.

At the end of January, Drew began 2nd grade and Zach started Prep, the equivalent of Kindergarten, which is every day, all day here. They are both doing great. We just had Parent-Teacher conferences and Drew’s teacher said he needs to learn to focus—his mind is clearly moving very quickly and handling a lot, but he needs to focus on the task of learning to read and write and follow instructions. She said she’ll likely be moving him to a desk near hers, so she can keep an eye on him. (He lost his 8th tooth this morning! How that beautiful mouth is changing….) 🙂

And Zach’s teacher said he is very easygoing, never bothered by anything and pretty chilled out every day, all day. She said he has his friends he enjoys and other people like to come up and chat with him, but he doesn’t seem too concerned about them. I’m glad both our boys seem to have such good teachers, who have already figured them out after four weeks of school! Ha!

Best mates off to school
Best mates off to school

Yoga teaching has been going extremely well. I feel like my teaching improves as the length of time I’ve been teaching increases—makes sense. I’m receiving positive feedback and significant interest. Steve’s new job has been going very well also—keeping him Very busy! He is doing great at it!

My only big surprise has been my lack of time. I work very few hours now (probably less than 2 full days per week if you add it all together) and I have no kids at home for six hours a day, five days a week. I worried I would be lonely and bored, but so far, I can’t find the time to get my home projects done and am turning down social invitations—weird! I don’t get it…..

All I’ve gotten done is kept up with the yoga business, groceries, and family bills. I’ve finally had the energy to cook more these past couple weeks, but I’ve still mainly done that on weekends, like I used to. Even with cleaning, I’ve pretty much stuck to my former “routine” of Friday afternoons and/or weekends.

When I think about it, we’ve had 19 days of school and I’ve had a kid home with me five of those days. Drew’s asthma was really bad two weeks ago and he stayed home for two days. I gave Zach one day off recently because he’s been so tired with his new schedule and then he had croup last week and had to stay home two more days—he was sick on his 5th birthday, poor little man. I’ve had three baby appointments, which have taken up most of those days (incidentally–I’m 15 weeks now and the apple and I are healthy and fine). 🙂  And, I am working two days each week, basically. So, I guess that’s where all the time has gone.

Sick but happy little 5-year-old!
Sick but happy little 5-year-old!

I’ve also been better about knowing my limits and sticking to them with this pregnancy—I guess 3rd time’s the charm! My first day teaching two yoga classes in one afternoon tired me out so much; I didn’t do much outside the house the next day. I’ve been making sure I squeeze in a half an hour nap each day, no matter what, which still doesn’t seem like enough. I’ve cancelled coffee dates or said no to lunches when I just don’t have the energy, particularly after a sleepless night due to nausea (thankfully, those nights have been rare).

We’ve been fortunate this school term that all of our after school childcare needs are taken care of through swaps with friends. It saves us a great deal of money, even though it’s taxing on my energy levels. It’s giving me good practice at having more than two kids in the house! Currently, I watch friends’ kids Monday and Wednesday mornings before school and Wednesday afternoons. I teach Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. So pretty much all of my energy is spent on children—thankfully, they’re all beautiful! I also walk the kids to and from school as often as I can. Oh, and completely, unrelated, but I do start my adult yoga teaching training next month—I’m very excited about that!

I can’t end this without mentioning what’s been pretty constantly on my mind these last few weeks and that’s the death of my cousin. She was a distant cousin, so don’t think I’m grieving the loss of someone close to me. It’s more that I can’t stop thinking about the sadness of the situation and the unfairness of life. I think pregnancy makes me feel emotions even more deeply and I often find myself imagining how people close the situation feel, to the point where I even seem to “feel” it myself, to some degree I guess. I’m sure that sounds weird, and I think that it’s even more pronounced during pregnancy.

Anyway, the 29-year-old daughter of my Dad’s cousin went into the hospital in late October to give birth to her 2nd baby—a joyous time for all of their extremely close family. They found out she had cancer while she was there and she died last Tuesday. I cry about it so much. I think of her mother, who not only lost two of her own siblings when they were young, but now has lost a daughter. I think of her brothers and sister, who lost one of their closest friends. I think of her husband, a widow at age 30, with two young kids to care for and his life partner gone so quickly, how a celebratory time turned so tragic. I think of those poor babies, aged 3 and 4 months, who lost their mother and they don’t even know it.

I see a life insurance ad on TV and I wonder if she had some. Every time I got up to comfort and help Zach this past week, I would think about how she just has to hope someone else will do that for her babies—get up four times a night to soothe their coughs and fevers and then snuggle with them all the next day, while monitoring their fluid intake. Who does that besides a mother?

As I’ve planned what to serve at Zach’s 5th birthday party and how to make his cake, and watch his delight as he opens his presents, I think about how she has to entrust all of that to others and will never get to see it herself. When I’m trying to sleep at night, I wonder if she knew she was dying, that the treatment didn’t work and there were no more options, before she slipped away from her loved ones. I hope she knew, because I hope she had the chance to tell her loved ones about her hopes and dreams for her children, what songs her daughter likes at bedtime, her favorite outfits. Maybe she got to write them letters to open when they’re older, about what she’d love to tell them if they were old enough to understand—how it was absolutely not her choice to leave them.

I’ve been emailing a lot with another cousin who lost his mother in a car accident when he was a baby. She definitely never had that chance. I hope Angela did.

My husband and I watched a show the other night where a couple dealt with the news that their baby wouldn’t survive birth and had to deal with the loss of their hopes and dreams for a new family. He asked me if I needed to turn it off. I said I was ok, because, when I think about it, if I lost my baby, yes, it would be devastating, but I do have two children and I’d still be around to take care of them, to watch them grow, and we would move on. For two babies to lose their mother, for a mother to have to leave her babies, entrusting their love and care and growth to others, is just worse somehow……it’s heartbreaking.

I know to be thankful for what I have and I am definitely squeezing my babies and my husband tight these days. It’s just that I don’t understand why I get to raise mine and others don’t—who decides that and how? It’s just not fair.

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Loss, In the Raw

This week I became a member of a club I never wanted to be in, a sisterhood of loss. Writing has become therapeutic for me, but I am struggling with actually putting this one out there. It’s a good thing that only a handful of people read these crazy thoughts of mine! I apologize that close friends will be finding out this way, but this is the easiest way for me to tell you and I am taking the easy path right now. This week I became one of the “Mothers who have miscarried.”
I know. There are millions of us, all around the world. And I have to applaud those millions and tell you all how much I admire your strength and courage, because I feel like I have none right now. I have so many friends who have miscarried. They tell me so bravely! I am not brave, or strong, or courageous at all right now. I’m crying. A lot. It seems to be the most common thing I’m doing these days.
Poor Steve found me in the bathroom one morning fresh out of the shower, shaking with sobs. I could barely keep it together dropping Zach off at school this morning when I saw another mother holding a baby while she dropped off her child. I’ve cried in doctors’ offices, phlebotomy labs, outside, inside, on Skype, on face time, heck I’m crying right now.
And holy cow the emotions! If the phone rings I get annoyed because I just want to be left alone. When it doesn’t ring, I’m angry and sad that a friend who knows still hasn’t contacted me.
It happened VERY early in the pregnancy. In fact, the doctor said there was hardly even a pregnancy. So shouldn’t I “hardly even” feel sad or disappointed?
I feel old. I feel incompetent. I feel like I failed. I thought I was healthier than I’ve ever been, so why couldn’t I pull off a pregnancy, especially when my body knows how to do it? It’s done it twice before! Steve and I are both healthier right now than ever—what is wrong with us that we couldn’t put together a good combination this time?
I’m angry at myself for trying to have a baby. I already have two—why wasn’t that enough for me? Why, at 37, did I feel the need to try again? I’m ashamed, for trying to have more babies when women out there can’t have even one. I’ve even heard that comment already, put to me by someone else: “You have two. Why are you doing this again?”
I’m also angry that we waited so long. My youngest is already 4. Steve is 40. If we wanted more kids, why didn’t we try earlier, so a loss like this wouldn’t hit so hard? But then I think about it honestly and know we couldn’t have tried any earlier. If we’d stayed in the U.S., this idea couldn’t even have taken form. And we needed time to settle in to this huge change before adding another huge change to our lives. And I believe in my heart that things happen for a reason. We have kept ourselves “open” to the idea of more children for over a year now, leaving it up to God because we couldn’t decide. I felt God thought what we thought—that it wasn’t the right time. But when we got pregnant so easily once we actually tried, I thought we were all in agreement yet again. What happened?
I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed, because I’m even a little bit angry at Steve. He’s been nothing but supportive and helpful and he says he’s sad, too, that it didn’t work. But he can just go to work and seem to be fine all day. He’s not the one who makes the bathroom look at a crime scene and runs around in the morning trying to clean up the blood before the boys wake up and see it. He’s not the one who doesn’t have the energy to leave his bed, who cries when he sees pregnant women or babies. Isn’t that awful? I’m angry at my husband and he hasn’t done anything wrong!
I’m also ashamed at how sad I am. I look at these brave women all around me and wish I could be more like them—stronger, more optimistic. I have two beautiful, perfect children of my own! What right do I have to be sad about miscarrying now?! I have gray hairs and I’m trying to have a baby, too! What was I thinking?
My heart truly aches for all those millions of women, my sisters in this, who have no other children when they miscarry. I wish I could hug each one of you and take your pain away. My kids are the main thing getting me through this right now. Because they don’t know what’s going on, the innocent distraction they provide, their constant demands of me that often make me so frustrated, are my lifeline right now.
Of course they know something’s amiss. My youngest got two cupcakes yesterday at school for two kids’ birthdays and he saved one for me while all the other kids ate both. He was so kind giving it to me. It didn’t matter that his brother and father ate it. It was his precious gesture that warmed my heart. I don’t know what I’d do without those boys.
And that’s why my heart truly reaches out to those women. For any one of us, to open your heart up to the possibility of children of our own and all the emotion and change that brings to our lives and then lose that life before it even gets started is true pain. Those women are mothers in my eyes. They have known the pain of loss. They have opened their hearts to love, filled it up with the coming joy and then lost it. That is a true motherhood journey.
I also feel tremendously for the women who carry their pregnancies longer, who can’t tell something is wrong because they start bleeding, who find out in doctors’ office and have to endure invasive procedures. They are much stronger and braver than I am.
I am in awe at the courage of women. The courage women have to try again, the courage to open themselves up again. I don’t know if I have it. And that’s where I’m even luckier that I have two children already. I guess when you really think about it—loss is loss, however it happens and at whatever stage of life. There’s no shame in feeling it, in allowing the emotions to present themselves however they will.
So sometimes I don’t feel so ashamed. I just feel sad. Maybe in some ways a miscarriage is harder when you have kids already. You truly know what’s ahead and the joy and amazement and hard work and exhaustion that’s to come– and then it’s gone. I admit—before this, I was one of those annoying women who got pregnant at the drop of a hat each time I even thought about it. It happened twice and each time I got a perfect, healthy boy at the end. No one on this earth wanted to be around me when the subject of fertility struggles came up. Yes, I had scary deliveries and one son in the NICU for a while, but my end results were all that you can ask for.
That’s why this time, I truly jumped the gun. I knew I was pregnant when it got to day 31 of my cycle. My mind filled up with thoughts of how I was going to take care of myself and relish every change in my body this last go round. I daydreamed of both my boys with their hands on my belly, feeling the kicks of their coming sibling. I walked them to school, holding each one’s hand, smiling at how in the coming months, there’d be three little ones with me on these walks. I knew exactly what was ahead and I was ready!
And now it’s gone. I feel empty. Empty and gross watching this stuff come out of me, knowing what it could have developed into. Empty and sad and frustrated and ashamed and angry and a little lost. My vision of our changing lives just disappeared.
Unlike a younger woman who’s starting her family journey, I don’t know if we will try again. Maybe this was our sign that our family’s complete. Maybe we’re too old for this. Maybe our kids are too grown up and it’s silly to try in a few more months to throw another one in the mix—would they even know each other? Maybe it’s unkind to the thought of any future child to grow up with two brothers who are peas in a pod and be five years behind them, on his own?
But then maybe this was our sign that I do truly want another child. Who cares about the spacing? My boys would be fantastic big brothers. And heck, I’m only 37! Just because part of this experience has included the mention of menopause doesn’t mean I’m too old to do this (ay yi yi—love those comments!).
I don’t know. I guess I don’t have to decide that now. I’ll just be a baby, crying over my lost baby, for a little while longer. Thankfully, I have an outstanding support system, with those two beautiful boys at the core of it. And they don’t even know the good they are doing for me right now, bless their precious little hearts.