Friday, March 29, 2019

Regarding Miscarriage

This is something that has been on my mind for a while now. But yesterday, it was brought to me in the cruel reality that, in fact, I am having a miscarriage. For those who don't know, I am the proud mama of two wonderful boys. I had a perfect pregnancy with my first, a little more risk with my second: I had a subchorionic hemorrhage with some intense bright red bleeding. But not only did I carry them full term, it was extremely easy for me to get pregnant and stay pregnant. So it would seem. Until now. I was seven weeks this week. Or I would have been if I were still pregnant.

The bleeding started at 5 weeks gestation. It started as spotting- no big deal. I've had it before. I wasn't even too worried about the bright red blood. I had that with my second. But something was different this time. I knew. Even though I pretended not to know, I knew that something was really wrong. So I went to the doctor with no insurance and little hope. It was pretty pointless for me to go, except that I had applied for medicaid and needed to have a proof of pregnancy for my application. So, I got one while I was there. I couldn't afford to pay for an ultrasound out of pocket, and at five weeks, there was probably little chance of seeing anything anyway. So, after many tears and a very compassionate doctor telling me the only thing I could really do was wait and see or check hormone levels, which was also something I couldn't afford, I left the doctor's office. I scheduled a follow up appointment for two weeks later. When I got home, my husband said he was sure that the baby was going to be fine. I was not so convinced. I was still hopeful, and, stupidly, I still told a few more people that I was pregnant, but in my heart I already knew. I started to feel some of the pregnancy symptoms that I had been feeling before I started bleeding, and my hopes rose a little, but I knew. I just didn't want to admit it. The two weeks between appointments were extremely difficult. The unknown was ever haunting my thoughts. Even though I knew, I didn't have any proof, any confirmation.

I am ashamed to admit, it affected my children and my husband, and my motivation to be a good housekeeper- something I am not very good at anyway. Then, yesterday happened. Without going into much detail- I had an ultrasound and all that was left was a shriveled little sack-like thing. As the doctor kept looking, I waited, hoping, praying that he would find that little flutter of a heartbeat. But again, I knew. It wouldn't be there. Any life there had been was gone. My heart sank and the tears came. My doctor was the most compassionate, caring doctor in the world. I am so grateful for him and his good heart. He gave me permission to have a bad day. When I got home, I texted my husband and my mom and mother in law. My sweet husband came home from work to spoil me and take care of me and the boys for the day. As my mother said- he wins Best Husband Award. He told me he was glad I went to the doctor- that he had been afraid of what an ultrasound would reveal. I then realized just how vulnerable he- and every husband in a miscarriage situation- is.

We can't forget the men who go through this experience. They are grieving too. Although my body is physically experiencing this, my husband put just as much of himself- his love and hope- into this child. So ladies, remember your husband is hurting too. It's not all about you.

Now- I want to talk a little about the thoughts that I have had since the day I started bleeding. That first day, my friend informed me that she had miscarried at five weeks gestation. At that point, I knew. I had a premonition that I was going to experience the same thing. As I have contemplated it the last couple of weeks, I have come to the conclusion that this was meant to give me experience and empathy. I have always been someone who helps others best when I fully understand the struggles and experiences they have. I have felt inadequate when it came to miscarriage because I knew nothing about it. I had actually pretty much come to the conclusion that I was immune to miscarriage. It wouldn't happen to me. I get pregnant easily and I already have two kids from two pregnancies. There just was no way I could ever understand it. I have actually felt very guilty about how easily I have become pregnant. With friends and family who deal with fertility issues, I always felt like the biggest jerk because I didn't have that problem. Now I'm getting a small taste of that devastation. Two weeks ago- when this all started, as I was thinking about everything going on with me, my thoughts turned to a sweet relative of mine with PCOS. I remembered her telling me that while she was on fertility medication she had to take a pregnancy test every month. It dawned on me that, for someone with fertility problems, every period must feel like a miscarriage when you're trying to have kids. How frustrating and depressing that must be. And now, I know just a little of how it must feel.

A friend told me everyone grieves and experiences it differently, and she's right. I'm going to talk about the emotions and thoughts that I've experienced in the last two days. I want to curl up in bed and never get up again. I want to scream at the world and say just how unfair this is! I want someone to talk to, someone who will just hold me and let me cry without trying to fix it. I want to feel comfortable enough to talk openly about it without feeling like I'm dumping all of my problems on other people. I want to tell the world just how much this sucks. But, I feel that if I did all those things, people would say I complain too much, that millions of women deal with this and worse. I should just suck it up and not feel and definitely not talk about it. And maybe some women don't want to talk about it. Maybe it hurts them too much to talk about it. If that's the case, I respect that. But if you want or need to talk, but don't because it is "just not talked about", please, let your voice be heard. Do what you need to do to release the pain and heal.

I know this experience is meant to give me empathy for the millions of other women who experience this loss. I am grateful for that knowledge. I'm grateful for a loving Savior who is the only one who has ever lived who can have perfect empathy for everything I experience in this life. And I'm grateful to all of the moms out there who keep trying even after this enormous loss. I'm grateful to my mom, whose first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. Because she kept trying, I am here, and so are my siblings. I'm grateful for friends who understand and give support in these dark times. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

On Parenting

In having a conversation with my sister, I was basically complaining that most people I know are so busy with their own lives, they can't make room(time) for others. I mentioned that most Relief Society lessons or talks that I have really enjoyed emphasize the importance of giving our time. And I said, "You'd think people would learn."
My sister agreed and then stated that she hadn't learned and that made her horrible. I had an epiphany then. I told her that no, it doesn't mean she's horrible, just that she is still a child. 
It was confirmed and reiterated to me today that we are all our Father's children, and just like I have to tell my children what to do repeatedly, our Father does the same thing. 
My two year old is a very obstinate child. I have told him multiple times not to do certain things. He still does them. I've caught myself falling into the trap of thinking that a "normal" child would listen better. Then I remember how many times I had to get after my older son when he was two. And then I think about my sins and how many times I have been told to do or not do something. I realize that my Heavenly Father has made it possible for me to understand just a little bit of how he feels watching his billions of children making choices he's warned us against over and over. 
So I'm trying to take a page out of his book. He never gives up on me, and though I imagine his sorrow for every child who chooses not to listen is very deep, He continues to have open arms for all of us. He tells us to come to him for help, for forgiveness, for understanding, for peace. I want to be like that.
I want to be like the father in the parable of the prodigal son. I want my children to know that no matter how much they don't listen, I still love them. I want them to know that when they come to me I will run to them with open arms. 
So my goal this week is to remember daily how patient my Father has been with me each time I'm tempted to be frustrated and angry with my children for not listening or learning. And to remember that I am only a child in the eternal scheme of things and I have much to learn. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Five Weeks...Again

The last time I wrote was when I found out for sure that I was going to miscarry. Little did I know, I already had. I miscarried without any physical pain, and I started to doubt whether or not I had actually been pregnant at all. I spent two months waiting for some indication that it was over- that there was nothing left of my baby. Instead, what I got was a completely normal cycle 3 weeks after the bleeding started with the miscarriage. My body got right back to doing its thing. Some would say that is a good thing, but for a woman waiting to pass a sac that she has seen on an ultrasound, it was absolute torture. I didn't know if my first period after was a period, or just more bleeding. I kept hoping there would be some pain- something to make it real. Instead, I just felt like I was losing it. I was so lost and confused and hurt and... I didn't know what to do. I called my doctor and he told me just to take another pregnancy test to see if it would still be positive. It wasn't. By the time I did that, I had already had two periods. But no closure. But there it was: this test. Negative. There was no longer any indication of life growing inside me. It hurt.
But then I got excited about being able to try again soon. When the time came, we tried. We failed. I felt like my husband didn't really want it. Then, a month later, we tried again. We failed again. I felt like I was in my own little corner of Hell. Then, we tried again. And.It.Worked. I'm pregnant again. Five weeks today, March 5th. And I am scared to death. I am so excited, but there is this cloud hanging around me that I am trying so hard to fight.
But here is my problem. I still feel like it's not ok to talk about it. I feel like if I bring it up, there is just going to be an awkward silence and then life will go on as if I didn't even mention it. Then there's the feeling that I shouldn't make such a big deal about it. I didn't have any pain. It was barely even a pregnancy for more than a week. There are so many others who have gone through so much more than I have. Friends and family who have had several miscarriages, or struggle to have children at all. Friends who's children died at birth. Relatives and friends who have lost children at a young age. I see all of these things and think, "Oh, mine isn't gonna be a big deal to them. I should just get over it."
But I think I need to stop that. I have been hoping for some kind of validation from someone else. I still want that. I want someone to take time out of their day to ask me how I'm doing, and if I say, crappy, they still want to talk to me. But I am starting to realize I can't expect that from anyone but myself. I need to tell myself it's ok. I need to remind myself that my struggles are valid, but that I shouldn't dwell there, because it will just keep me down.
I guess I am just learning one day at a time how to love myself without pride. Learning to trust that my God knew what he was doing when he created me. He loves me, so why shouldn't I love myself? I've heard it all before, but I have still not ever gotten to that point.
Anyway, kind of a weird tangent that I just took you on. Bottom line, I guess, is to anyone who has ever felt my feelings of self doubt and trying to push your feelings aside. Your pain is valid. Your struggles are valid. Don't fill your mind with "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts" because what you are feeling is what you should feel. Once the feeling comes, you can choose to dwell on it, or counter it with another truth about the same situation. See? I did learn something from counseling. :)
Now, to all those who are reading this who know someone who may feel similar to me. Maybe someone you don't want to hang around because they are so negative all the time- be that friend. Take interest in them and what they are going through. Validate their feelings. Don't brush it off and say it will be ok, or there's nothing to worry about. Be the friend who listens.
Well, I am starting to ramble about something completely different from where I started. It is 12:55 am on Thursday, March 5, 2015. I am five weeks exactly today. I'm excited to add this new addition to our family in 8 months. I'm nervous. Hopefully, all will be well. Well, I'm going to bed. I hope sleep comes quickly.

Monday, October 7, 2013

"Doubt your doubts"

Today, I was creating a meme for the first time. I was using a quote from the October 2013 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.
This quote, stated by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, was used in a talk mostly about coming back to the fold if you have strayed. For me, it was a little different. What does it mean to doubt your faith? As I was looking for a picture for my meme, I searched for "dark before sunrise." Don't ask me why, that is just what I felt needed to be portrayed in my meme. When the images came up, most of them were of sunrises over the ocean. This got me thinking on the Bible story of Peter walking on the water to Jesus. So, I picked a picture with a sunrise and some rough water to illustrate my point.

When I was younger, I often pictured the water Jesus and Peter walked on. It was smooth and glass-like in my mind, so when Peter faltered I often felt disappointed, even a touch of disdain, that he couldn't even walk the short distance to the Savior. I have since read the story and realized that it was not such an easy walk. I have grown to understand a little more what it must have been like. Now, when I picture the story, it goes something like this:

It had been a long day already when Jesus sent his disciples to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. But, because he had commanded, away they went. Soon, though, the wind was no longer in their favor. They were now "in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary."
Peter looked up and saw the storm clouds begin to gather. "It's going to be a long night," he thought. "The way it's looking, Jesus will be there before us."
His reverie was interrupted, however, when the others called out, "Ghost!" There was a figure of a man walking toward them on the water! What was this spirit, and what did it want with them?
But the figure called out to them, saying, "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid."
There was still some hesitance among them, when Peter said, "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
"Come," The Man said.
 Peter hesitated for only a second. Then he looked at his master's eyes and found his faith. With no more hesitation, he climbed over the edge, and, while keeping his master's gaze, steadily put his feet on the water. He was walking on top of the water! He took a few steps, his eyes locked on Jesus. He was doing it! His eyes flickered to his feet, and suddenly he realized the depth of the water he was walking on, and the fierceness of the waves. In that split second, he lost his footing and into the water he went. He fell deeper as fear overcame him. 
"Lord, save me!" cried Peter, splashing frantically and gasping for air.
 Jesus was there immediately. He stretched out his hand and pulled Peter from the water. In a quiet but intense voice, he said, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"
Jesus helped him back into the boat and gave him a blanket to warm him. Then Peter looked up. The wind had stopped. The others were staring at them both with awe. Peter, embarrassed, lowered his eyes. Jesus stood there, and in an instant the rest of the disciples were on their knees worshiping him. "Of a truth," he heard one of them say, "Thou art the Son of God."

 There are a few things that really stand out to me in this story. One of them, the amazing faith Peter had to step off of that boat. I have often wondered if I would be able to have that much faith in that particular situation. I'm terrified of water. I'm not a strong swimmer, and I can't tread water. But, I guess, that's the point. I feel quite certain that, in that moment, Peter wasn't looking at the water. His eyes were fixed on "The Master of Ocean and Earth and Skies." His steps were strong and steady as long as he was looking to the Savior. So what caused him to fall? The scripture account says, "But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid." In my story, I picture him wanting to take a moment to say, "Look at me! I'm doing it!" But, in that moment of pride in himself, he lost sight of the Savior's hand in it. And as soon as that happened, Satan swooped right in to place doubt in Peter's mind of his ability to stand anymore. And instead of trusting that he had already done it and could do it again, with the Savior's help, he doubted his faith and fell. In that moment, he should have been doubting his doubts.

I can think of countless times where I have been in a similar situation. I will be going good with my eye fixed on my Savior, but in an instant, I think about myself, whether pleased or displeased, and suddenly my footing fails and I begin to sink. Doubts creep into my mind about my worth, about my abilities, sometimes about the Savior himself. In those times, I splash and flounder, feeling like I am going to go under. Just when I feel I am about to give up completely, I feel the need to cry out to my Lord. When I do, I feel his gentle embrace, and hear him whisper with love, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" He wipes my tears and gently sets me back on my way.

I guess my purpose in writing this blog is to discuss how we can "doubt our doubts" before our faith. In Peter's story, I found two things that influenced his fall. One: His Pride. He wanted to make sure he was doing it. In so doing, he looked away from the Savior. This opened the door for fear. This fear is my second point.  He began to be afraid of the wind and the waves. He began to focus on everything else but the One who could help him.  This is after he had seen the Savior calm the storm. He had a knowledge of the peace and stability the Savior offers, yet he still looked around at everything but the source of peace. He based the prospective outcome not on the FACT that he was literally walking on water, but the fear that he MIGHT fall. In doing so, he proved himself correct. I have heard fear defined as "FALSE evidence appearing real." We should, therefore, doubt that evidence. We should do what Helaman says, and "build our foundation upon the rock of our Redeemer" (Helaman 5:12), and have "an eye single to the glory of God"(D&C 4:5) so that no matter how much wind there is, WE WILL NOT FALL. So, how do we doubt our doubts?

Keep those eyes fixed on the Savior. Don't look away. Keep your eye on the prize!