How long the bleeding can last
I miscarried Mother's day weekend and the bleeding continued for six and a half more weeks. According to my multiple google searches, 2 weeks is "normal" but it may last longer than that. For me it did, and I didn't know if it was ever going to stop. After a month I stopped going into the doctor's office (more on that below), but I felt like my body was healing in it's own time. If I had been cramping or in any pain I definitely would have talked to a healthcare professional. Luckily, the bleeding stopped and I was finally able to not be constantly reminded of what I had lost.
- What it feels like to get weekly blood tests
This is the reason I stopped seeing my doctor. I had my blood drawn at my first appointment where my doctor told me while looking at my ultrasound, "I don't see anything in there." I had it drawn again a couple days later and my hCG levels weren't dropping very quickly. So my doctor asked that I come in again the next week for a shot to resolve any possible ectopic pregnancy and allow them to take another blood draw. This continued for three weeks. With massive bruises on each arm and anxiety over going in again, I made the best decision for my mental and emotional health to stop getting my blood drawn. So glad I made that decision. Again, if I had been in pain at all I would have continued to seek professional help. It should also be noted that I just stopped receiving all the lab bills for those blood draws.
- My grief doesn't look like someone else's, and that's okay
I consider myself a pretty optimistic person, and so my brain often doesn't want to open up about hurt, pain, sorrow, loss. I never want to bum people out. But it doesn't mean I don't feel all of those things. Sharing a little bit about how I've felt and what I've learned from my experience is how I'm able to move forward in a positive way. Sometimes I feel like that might make me seem fake or less authentic, but everyone grieves differently. Having an optimistic perspective that my experience can help someone else is how I'm coping with my loss, and that's true to who I am right now. And however you grieve, that's okay too!!
- Talking about it brings out emotions and allows you to stay on top of them
I felt burdened by what I was going through and opening up to my mom and sisters almost a month later was so healing for me. Sharing my experience here on the blog was hard for me, but also allowed me to understand just how many women go through something like what I experienced. It's given me so much understanding of how important it is to not judge others. You never know what they may be going through or what struggles they've faced in the past. I almost didn't share anything at all because I didn't want people to feel like they had to cheer me up or that I was seeking attention from my situation. But I'm glad I followed my heart felt feelings to post anyway because it's brought me closer to my family, friends, and complete strangers. It's also brought me closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ, and I'm so grateful for that.
- The grief and worry don't stop after the bleeding does
Luckily my reproductive cycle seems to be normalizing itself four months later, but the grief and worry still occur from time to time. When I see pregnant bellies, pregnancy announcements that have the same due date month our baby would have, gender reveals, regretting flying to California while pregnant, imagining what I'd look like right now if I hadn't miscarried, anytime I think I might be pregnant again but the test is negative, not working out as hard because I think I might be pregnant, wondering what's wrong with my body, etc; You get the idea. I still think about it all the time. I don't know if I'll ever forget about it, because it's the first time I've ever had a personal experience shake me so hard.
I am not alone
I was OVERWHELMED TO TEARS because of all of the women who had experienced something similar and reached out to me with love and understanding. It somehow broke my heart and mended it simultaneously to know so many had been where I was. Not to mention the countless empathetic, loving messages from friends, family, and strangers who were grieving with me even though they didn't know what I was feeling. THANK YOU. Every comment, thought and prayer meant so much to me and I felt so loved by all of you. I also know that my loving Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, had their arms wrapped around me through this trial. The spirit has comforted me and reaffirmed to me that I will have the opportunity to see my angel baby again someday.
An increased love and compassion for others
I think that sometimes heartbreak happens so more love can fit inside it before it's patched back up again. My heart has been opened and my mind is more aware of everyone who might be secretly suffering. If you're going through a miscarriage right now, I'm so sorry. No matter how common it is or how far along you were, the loss is still a loss. The pain is both physical, and emotional. The hormone levels dropping inside you still affect your mental health. See a health professional, and also listen to what you think your body needs to recover. Nothing you did caused this to happen, but from what I've experienced that doesn't stop the regret or paranoia. So just give yourself grace and time. Allow yourself to feel sad, mad, worried or guilty. Reach out to others often, when you feel like you need support. You will be surprised how many others have been through a similar struggle in silence. Please realize that you are not broken. You are strong. You are perfectly you. And you are loved.
*WARNING: TRIGGER POST*
Contains details of a miscarriage.
This is the photo we took on our Anniversary while in San Francisco to announce our pregnancy. We didn't know we would lose our angel upon our return, let alone on Mother's Day.
Near the end of last year, Matthew and I felt prompted to start planning for a third child. In January I was finally able to schedule an appointment with an OBGYN to get my IUD removed. In the past my pregnancies have been quickly conceived with close to no complications. February came and I had a period. March came and I had another period.
I remember having the thought that I was going to miscarry for some reason, but it had never happened before so I completely dismissed the thought.
That's when we decided to try an ovulation test kit. The beginning of April I started peeing in a cup every day to test if I was ovulating. I kept getting negative after negative. Some faint lines, but on an ovulation test that still means negative. The end of April was drawing near and I wasn't having a period, but I still wasn't testing positive for ovulation.
Then suddenly I got my first strong positive ovulation test on April 30th, again on May 1st, and again on the 2nd. It seemed so bizarre, but we took advantage of it anyway. Without my knowledge, Matthew did a second test from my sample cup on the 2nd. But not with an ovulation test, with a pregnancy test! That's when he told me that I was pregnant. He knelt down, announced it to me and kissed my belly in the sweetest way. I was in shock and overjoyed at the same time because we were about to go on a vacation to celebrate our anniversary! The timing couldn't have been more perfect.
I changed my period tracking app to pregnancy mode, and there was a digital image of a 5 week old fetus that appeared on the screen. I still couldn't believe it was real!
When we arrived in SF I started spotting. At first it seemed fine, like implantation bleeding, but I had a feeling something might be wrong. It stopped the next day and so I didn't worry about it very much. On our anniversary we took the 'bumps ahead' photo. What I didn't know at the time was the irony that photo would have just a week later. The women taking the photo congratulated us and they were elated by our upcoming announcement. I was starting to accept and believe that this was really happening!
We got home on the 8th, and the next morning I started bleeding again. But this time it wasn't light and it definitely didn't seem normal. I just kept bleeding. The 10th, 11th, 12th, and on Mother's Day I watched as clots and strings of blood left my body. Every time I went to the bathroom I was terrified that I would somehow see a 6+ week old fetus on the pad lining my underwear.
Throughout the day, I felt depressed and yet comforted. As if in my mind I knew this was going to happen, but my heart still wouldn't accept it. The lessons in church were so incredibly special and applicable to me that day. I couldn't stop sobbing.
Yesterday Matthew gave me a priesthood blessing and he said that I would be comforted through this loss. As a definite statement, not a question. I had scheduled a doctors appointment for Tuesday, so even though it felt final I held on to a fraction of hope that maybe I'd hear a little heartbeat in there, still beating.
Today I watched the doctor do the ultrasound. The screen was dark and I saw my empty uterus. It confirmed all of my feelings and fears. To have that excitement start and end in such a short span of time. It's impossible to explain how heavy the loss felt on my heart in that moment. And yet, somehow I feel okay. I feel like God prepared my mind for this all along.
I lost an angel on Mother's Day.
I don't know why this happened. Why my husband was prompted to do a pregnancy test, and why it was over before I really accepted it. But I do know that God has a plan for me. This loss is a part of His plan and it's a part of my story now.
I'll see you again one day, my angel baby.
For a while now I've been trying to write more about my life on the blog, but I get so hung up on if I have something valuable to share. I ask myself questions constantly. What about my life could someone relate to or find value in? Could I help uplift someone by sharing my experiences or are they not _______ enough?
The fact is I've lived a very privileged and blessed life. I grew up in a loving home with two parents who never got divorced. I have a strong relationship with all of my siblings. I've never broken a bone or suffered a severe injury. I've never been personally effected by cancer, miscarriage, or loss of a family member. I have never had strong financial burdens (thanks parents and husband) and I don't feel like I've had a lot of trials placed in my life.
The trials and struggles I have considered as such seem so insignificant in comparison to the problems of many others. How can I even complain and struggle with something trivial when so many others have it much harder and worse than I do?
Yesterday I was watching Jenna's Insta Stories and she said something that really struck a chord with me. "Gratitude and struggle can coexist." You can go through something that is hard and still feel gratitude. My struggles may seem insignificant to others, but to me they are still hard! That doesn't mean I'm ungrateful, I am constantly in awe of how truly blessed I am, it just means my hard is different than theirs.
I have a strong belief in God, and I know that he doesn't give us trials we can't overcome. For me right now, my biggest struggle is trying to manage my time and teach my children. Having two toddlers and trying to stay on top of housekeeping, self care, budgeting, planning and my business is completely overwhelming most days. I want to be able to do it all, but managing it all is so hard when I've got two little boys who need me 24/7. I am SO GRATEFUL to be a mother, especially to their sweet spirits, but that doesn't make it easy.
Here I am. Showing up to give it my best shot! I'm a 27 year old mom with two crazy boys who extract all of my energy from me and I love them endlessly. I cherish the time I get with my husband, but I don't always show it. I have an unhealthy relationship with sugar cookies in every form and I'm okay with that. I am enough.
Every time I'm vulnerable about my struggles and my life I hear from someone saying, me too. I know I'm not alone, but it's so easy to isolate ourselves. All of us have different life experiences and struggle in our own ways, but we have more in common than we realize.
My story might not be heart wrenching or ground breaking, but it is still worth telling. I want to remember all of it. The sweet moments and the things I had to overcome. My story is what makes me who I am. So I'm going to keep sharing it.
Here I am, feeling extra vulnerable and completely defeated. For the last month I've started going to the gym 2-3 times a week and leaving my kids in the childcare center my gym offers. This week Turner, now 3 years old and short for his age, was written up for biting another child. This is a problem we've had before, and I thought he was past it until this incident. I had a long talk with him about how it's not okay to bite others because it hurts them. I told him we need to use our words to express how we're feeling, and if a child isn't listening to you to talk to an adult. I asked him to promise me not to bite anymore and he agreed that he would not.
Well, today I took them to the gym again, and we had another biting incident that Turner was written up for. I left feeling humiliated and frustrated. As I was strapping him into his carseat, I told Turner that behavior was unacceptable and that we need to use our words to express how we're feeling. As I tried to get him to understand me, I started crying. I hugged him and pleaded desperately that he would not bite anymore.
I was fuming the whole drive home with every range of emotion. Embarrassment, guilt, sadness, frustration, desperation, anger, defeat, confusion. I was completely at a loss of how to teach my son to express himself in a healthy way. I was thinking about how frustrated the other children, childcare employees and parents must be with my child and me. I've only ever seen him try to bite someone when they are taking something from him or making him feel threatened, but that doesn't make it okay. It's never okay. They told me that if it were to happen again, he would be suspended for several weeks.
Working out at the gym has become so amazing for my mental and physical well being. So much so that being suspended would be absolutely devastating to me. Turner doesn't understand that. I've told him that going to the gym means a lot to me and that I would be sad if we couldn't go anymore, but that doesn't really matter. I just want him to understand that it's not okay to hurt others.
I've been googling, you-tubing and researching all the ways I can teach my child to stop biting. I did a few role playing exercises with him where I pretended I was a child trying to take his toy from him, then walked him through how he was feeling and how to express it properly. I'm doing everything I can to teach him that it's wrong, and I feel like I am failing.
I messaged my husband to let him know it had happened again. He called me and we talked about our frustration and disappointment over the situation. We discussed different strategies like watching videos with him, reading books, and singing songs that teach him not to bite. He told me he knew we could work this out, and that we can get through anything together. <3
I spent the next two hours playing with Turner as the baby napped, and he didn't show any type of aggression. He was communicating in a healthy way, compromising with me when there was something I didn't want to do and sharing with me really well. That's when I realized how self centric I had been throughout this whole situation. I didn't really think about how Turner was truly feeling, but about how his choices were effecting me and the people around him.
I knew he was reacting out of anger or frustration, but I didn't really think about how he may have been feeling going to childcare in general. Turner has only started playing in big groups since I joined the gym, and he is not used to that at all. We usually stay home during the week where he deals with his little brother, a 10 months old who is just learning to crawl around and play himself. He also attends a nursery during church once a week for a couple hours that has about 15 children, but it's usually less than that. Other than that he doesn't get a lot of exposure to groups of children.
The childcare center, however, can have up to 25 children and 5 infants at the same time (30 total), while there are usually only 5-6 employees. That's about 5 kids per adult. I only have 2 kids of my own, and that's a lot for me to handle. The employees can't watch every child at all times. It's not possible. They are doing the best that they can to ensure every child is taken care of.
Turner really thrives on adult-child play, which he's not getting. He also thrives on one-on-one and small group interaction and I'm sure he's getting overwhelmed with such a large amount of children in the same space. He is trying to deal with it the best he can. And unfortunately that's with his teeth. I wish the 10 million times I told him that biting isn't okay was enough. I wish I could be there with him every second to reinforce his good behavior and guide him through proper emotional expression. But if he's not emotionally ready to be with a big group of kids without my constant supervision for an hour, then he's not ready. AND THAT'S OKAY.
I'm going to continue doing everything in my power to teach him what behavior is okay and what's not. That's all I can do. So if your child is biting, know you are not alone and that the struggle is real. Keep loving them and teaching them the best way you know how. Talk to your spouse, family members, friends, your pediatrician, and anyone else you trust for other resources to help you. And if you're child is the victim of a biting incident, or a childcare employee, please try to have empathy for the biting child, and their parents too. No parent wants there child to be hurt or to be hurting someone else. Let's all show a lot more love and equally less judgement. We all have our struggles, and right now this is ours.
This weekend I had somewhat of a revelation, a realization really, and it all has to do with mom guilt. If you're anything like me, you feel it all the time.
I feel it every time my child gets sick. When my child misbehaves or hurts someone. If my house is filthy and I binge watch Netflix instead of cleaning it. When I lose my patience and react out of anger. Anytime I make a choice that isn't the best choice, in comes mom guilt. Sometimes the guilt and weight of parental responsibility becomes so overwhelming I completely breakdown. Sobbing ensues and there is little that can be done to stop it. On Saturday I laid in bed, and did just that.
Earlier that day I felt my son Grey's forehead to find he was running a fever, again. Our boys have gone from one illness to another this winter and I was beginning to believe that they'll never have noses that aren't running and throats that aren't sore from coughing. My patience was thin and my energy low. Matthew was trying to talk to me about planning a vacation, which distracted me for a while. Until I heard Grey coughing downstairs.
That's when all the guilt flooded in. Why can't I keep my children from getting sick? What am I doing wrong? Which lead to more and more thoughts of guilt, unrelated to illness. Why am I not motivated to do the laundry? There are so many things I can do better. I don't play with Turner enough. We don't leave the house enough. We watch too much television. I look at my phone too much. All followed by the thought that I am a terrible mother.
My sweet husband could instantly tell something was weighing down my heart and asked me to talk to him. In a flood of tears, I told him what I was feeling. The weight of being a parent and raising competent, respectful human beings is too much to handle at times. I felt that weight lifting slightly as he comforted me and said just the things I needed to hear.
As I continued to reflect on our conversation in the days following, my perspective became more profound and clear. These are some of the things I've come to understand and hope to remember the next time I feel mom guilt, or guilt of any kind.
- Guilt comes with caring. The fact that you feel guilt about something is because you care about how it effects those around you. The next time you feel guilty, remind yourself that you truly care and let it motivate you to keep improving yourself. If your children are fed, safe, and loved, you're doing great!
- You can always be better. No matter how perfect we try to be, or how much we do, we will always have room for improvement. That's just how life is. You won't get anywhere for beating yourself up about the mistakes and the what if's. Forgive yourself, and just keep giving your best.
- Your best is enough. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else's seemingly put together and perfect life. I promise, it's not. Mine DEFINITELY is not. Do your mama thing the best way you know how, and then try to do a little better each day. That is more than enough.
I love my children, I can improve, and my efforts are enough. That's a phrase I need to tell myself more often.
These things may not be a revelation to all, but it definitely came at a time that I needed it most. I'm so grateful for a wise, loving husband who holds me and reassures me while I let ALL the emotion out. If you've ever felt this way before, please know you're not alone. And if you ever need someone to talk to about it, I'm here for you. ;) I hope you all have a great week!