Horsing around

Two years ago, we were here at the farm celebrating this May long weekend. The horses had arrived back in our pasture after spending the winter at their owner’s farm. I wrote about my envy of the horses and their babies, feeling sad that I had been trying to conceive and had recently miscarried. 

Two years later, I’m here again with my two boys. The horses have returned and, this time, it’s them who don’t have their babies. Of the three mares that arrived at our farm the other night, one recently suffered a still birth and another had two miscarriages this year.  One is currently pregnant and on some medication to help sustain her pregnancy. 

I was so surprised when I heard that. And sad. I wonder what an animal feels when they lose a baby. I know horses have a really long gestational period (something like 11 months!) and I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t be aware of the loss after all that time. 

I’m not an animal person. In fact, I’m actually quite terrified of most animals (including these horses) and usually stay as far away as I can. But I do find them interesting and I’ve been amazed by what I’ve seen as I observed these creatures (from a safe distance!) I watched as the babies were separated from the moms one summer when it was time for them to be weaned and I heard their cries.  I saw the grandmother put the babies in their place when they wouldn’t obey their owners. I watched them mourn when one of their sisters died. 

Two years ago, I knew that I was being irrational when I felt a bit of anger towards the horses for having something I wanted.  Nonetheless, I still felt what I felt. 

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this except that perhaps I can learn a little lesson from these horses. If nothing else, I think this is a good reminder for me that I don’t always know the full story behind someone else’s journey. When I’m jealous that someone has something that I want, I need to take a moment to realize there may be something there that I don’t want…something they won’t or can’t tell me about.  Of course, this is something I’m going to need to work on. Just this morning, I received an email pregnancy announcement from a friend and, as happy as I am for her, I also felt a little twinge of jealousy. I guess I’m a work in progress.  

 

Heartstrings

I sat in the waiting room of my OB’s office this morning with a bit of a lump in my throat. I wasn’t there for anything exciting. Just a post-IUD-insertion check-up. Nevertheless, I felt a strange sadness as I sat there.

You see, that hospital is where I experienced the best and worst days of my life. It’s where I lived out some of my scariest and most joyous moments. It’s where I found out I had miscarried baby #2. It’s where I learned that Bo was still ok in there, despite my heavy bleeding. It’s where I felt the worst pain I’ve ever endured. And it’s where I met the two most incredible little boys in the world (in my humble opinion).

I guess that’s why the knowledge that this could be my last visit to this doctor’s office made me a little emotional.

I realize that I have some things to work through with respect to the end of our family building. I never thought I wanted more than two kids but now that the baby is almost one year old, I find myself struggling to accept that we are done having kids. Logically, I know a lot of my feelings stem from the fact that I’m about to go back to work. My emotions are all over the place (I cried during Bo’s first haircut this afternoon!) and I’m sure (at least, I hope!) that I’ll feel differently once we’re settled into our new life as a family of four with a working mom.

While part of me worries that I’ll always wish that we had another child, I know that I need to focus on our current family right now. Things are about to get a lot tougher for all of us as my time at home ends.

My doctor’s appointment ended up being quick and painless. The doc wants to see me again in six months, which means this wasn’t, in fact, my last time there. (More to come about my IUD experience in a future post). I felt a bit lighter as I walked out of there, knowing that I’ll be returning again. Hopefully by then I’ll feel a bit less emotional and be ready to walk away with no regrets.

The things they know

When we spend weekends at the farm with my parents, often they’ll take Littleman to church with them on Sunday mornings.  I grew up in a Catholic household, attending Catholic school and going to church every Sunday with my parents.  As an adult, I no longer practice any religion, however we did have our children baptised and Littleman enjoys going to mass with his grandparents.

On this particular Sunday, my mom and Littleman attended the children’s portion of the service, which includes a story and short lesson.  The teacher was asking the children what they could do to be more like Jesus (or something along those lines).  Apparently kids were giving ideas like praying or being nice to their siblings.  The teacher talked about how important it is to be kind to your brothers and sisters.  Makes sense, right?

This, though, is when my mom got confused.  Littleman turned to her and said, “I had a sister, but she died.”  What?  My mom was genuinely confused.  She told him, no he didn’t.  So he clarifies.  “Yes, she was in mommy’s tummy before Bo, but she died.”

Understandably, my mom doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about my miscarriage that happened almost two years ago so it wouldn’t have been the first thing she thought of.  She came home from mass and told me about the conversation.  It blew my mind.  First of all, Littleman was only two years old when I had the miscarriage.  He knew about the pregnancy, but since I was only 14 weeks along, we didn’t know whether it was a boy or a girl.  He always called it his sister, but we certainly hadn’t told him that.  Also, we definitely never told him that he had a sister who died.  Yes, he knew that the baby was gone, but he was very young and we didn’t think he understood very much about what was happening.  Only a few months later, I was pregnant with Bo and, now, he’s had a brother for almost a full year.  What would make him remember that?

I remember now the strange moment a few days before I learned of the miscarriage.  I was putting Littleman to bed when he looked up towards the ceiling and muttered some gibberish.  Then he said “Puppet gone.” (Puppet was our nickname for the baby we lost).  At the time, I assumed this was just toddler nonsense, but later would learn that he was absolutely right.

All this has made me realize that there is a whole lot that goes on in his little mind.  It also made me realize that things that happen when our kids are very young can still have quite an impact on them – much more than we would expect.  Yes, that time in our lives was very hard and I was struggling a lot, but I had no idea that Littleman was aware of what was going on to this extent.

I wonder what sparked him to remember that loss and whether it’s something he’ll forget about with time.  I, of course, still think about it a lot and talk about it with those who I know care to hear it.  But it isn’t something we talk about with our young kids right now.  He didn’t mention it again after they got home from church and I never brought it up with him.  I guess I should think about how to explain it to him if he brings it up again.  Any suggestions for talking about miscarriage with a preschooler?

Triggering memories

I can’t remember the last time I had a chance to sit down at the computer and write.   I know I always complain that time is flying by, but it seems to be a moving at warp speed right now.  I just can’t keep up.

Both boys have been sick, which hasn’t helped.  Littleman developed a cold last weekend and had to stay home last Monday.  He’s gotten pretty good at wiping his own nose (and not even on his shirt – mostly!) but he doesn’t realize that he can use the tissue for more than one quick swipe.  I’d leave for a quick moment to feed his brother and return to find him buried in a pile of barely used tissues.

Then, a few days later, Bo woke up from an afternoon nap with super raspy breathing.  Poor little guy.  We cranked up the humidifier and (thankfully) he slept like a champ for a couple of days and it definitely on the mend now.  There’s nothing I hate more than seeing my babies sick!

D was busy with work and other commitments through most of the week so I was on my own a lot with the kids.  Not feeling well, partnered with shitty weather (and just being three, probably) made Littleman into a bit of a monster.  I thought we were getting past the worst of the threenage angst, but good lord, this week has been a challenge.

I’ve been reading a lot of novels on my phone these days during nursing.  It’s one of the few quiet times I have during the day and, after catching up on blog reading, I really enjoy getting lost in a good book.  The last couple of books I’ve read, though – all unrelated to each other – have included characters who suffered from miscarriage, infertility or stillbirth.  None of those things were the central theme of the books and so I didn’t see it coming when I started reading.  And still, after all the time that’s gone by, it hits me hard to read about it.  I felt the lump in my throat this morning when a woman had to call her husband to tell him about her miscarriage at 16 weeks.  I could so clearly remember the moment I called D to tell him.  And when I read about her waking from her D&C, all I could picture was the room I was in…the nurse sitting at a desk nearby, me asking what time it was, wanting a glass of water, wanting it all to be not real.

So now that Christmas season is upon us, I think I need to find myself some jollier reading material.  Any suggestions?

The lost one

It was a beautiful morning.  I put the baby down for his nap and his big brother was busy playing outside with my husband.  I set out for another run, feeling behind on my 5k training after a few days out-of-town.

I started down the street and I felt good.  The sun was out and it was warm, but not too hot.  After some pretty cold September days, it felt amazing.  As I ran, I thought to myself, how is it already late September?

All of a sudden, it felt like someone had punched me in the gut.  Late September.

My baby – the lost one – would have turned one this month.  If he, or she, had lived, my baby would be a year old.

I felt a bit shaky as I gasped to catch my breath.  I had forgotten.  That dreaded date had come and gone… and I had forgotten.

I wondered, what does this mean?  I still think about the miscarriage often.  But I don’t think about it everyday.  I see my friend’s twins who were born at the same time that I was due and I don’t feel horrible anymore.  I look at my six-month-old baby and I know he was the one who was meant to be part of our family.

But it’s September.

Last year, September was a month I looked forward to with all my heart and then dreaded to my very core.  Even when I found out I was expecting again, I knew September would be a tough month.  Earlier this summer, I realized that I could have had an almost-one-year-old.  So then how did this September manage to creep up on me?

As I ran on, I decided this means that I’m healing.  I’m not a horrible mom for having forgotten that awful due date.  Yes, I still have moments of sadness for the baby I never got to meet.  But I have many more moments of gladness for the family I do have.  I’m not as sad or as scared as I was this time last year.  I’ve learned that bad things can happen and that good things can come out of it.  I am able to think about the baby we lost and the baby we got to meet, knowing that I love them both.

I didn’t see any of this coming when I laced up my running shoes and stepped out my front door this morning, but I see it much more clearly now.  I am healing.

On this day

When I saw the news this morning, I was reminded that Prince George is one year old today. I remember so clearly where I was when I learned of his birth.

I was almost nine weeks pregnant. I was living in constant fear and nervousness after losing baby #2 to miscarriage at 14 weeks. But this pregnancy was going well and the light spotting I’d had a few days before appeared to be nothing. I’d had an ultrasound and seen my baby’s heart beating.

So where was I when the world heard the news that Will and Kate’s baby had been born? In the ER.

I wrote about that scary day here, but the gist of it is that I had some gushing blood that morning and was terrified that I was miscarrying again. After a long, long day at the hospital, I was diagnosed with a subchorionic bleed.

As I write this, I’m looking at my beautiful 4.5 month old baby boy, who has no idea how scared I was that day that I might not get to meet him. But here we are, a whole year later.

On this day last year, I was watching the news in a hospital waiting room, fearing the worst. Today, as I see stories about Prince George’s birthday on the news, I feel so lucky to be holding my own sweet, cuddly prince.

Should I keep writing?

I wrote my first post on this blog a year ago.  I was sitting at home, struggling to recover from the biggest hit I’d ever taken.  My body healed pretty quickly after my D&C, but my soul was crushed.  My husband went back to work and my toddler was in daycare.  I sat at home and wondered how I was going to move forward after losing what would have been our second baby.

That was when I found the online community of bloggers who had been through or were currently experiencing exactly what I was dealing with (or worse).  I have some amazing friends and family in real life – all of whom were incredibly supportive – but what I really needed were people who had been there.  I needed people who weren’t going to say things like “at least you know you can get pregnant” or “you can always try again.”  I needed to see that other women had dealt with this kind of pain and had survived to tell about it.

When I started writing my story, I was blown away by the kindness of the strangers who reached out to me to show their support (you know who you are!)  These people really helped me to realize that it would take some time – a long time – to come to terms with my loss.  And that it was ok to be sad.

Today, I find myself in strange position.  It’s been a year since my miscarriage. A year since I started this blog. I’m at home caring for my second son, my “rainbow” baby, who is an amazingly sweet little boy.  But that doesn’t mean that I’m over it.

I’m not ready to walk away from this community of support.  I’m not ready to stop writing.  But my life is different now.  I’m not constantly struggling with the pain of my pregnancy loss.  I’m not trying to get pregnant or worrying that something will go wrong with my pregnancy.  In fact, things are pretty darn good. 

I started writing in this space for me, as a way to manage my own thoughts and feelings.  At some point, blogging morphed into more of a conversation with others, which I really love.  So do I keep writing, even though my story has changed?  Does anybody care about life with my two boys?  I guess the answer is that I care and as long as I do, I will keep writing here.  I hope others will stick around for the journey.