Like I've said before, I've received a lot of thank yous from friends, telling me they appreciate my willingness to discuss my experiences with infertility and our miscarriage. Because of this I've decided to write a little about this second miscarriage, what was different, and what might help others who find themselves in the same situation.
Its weird to think that already this year I have been pregnant twice and lost both babies. This is kind of how the miscarriages felt...
Its like riding the worst amusement park ride of your life. You can't tell up from down, you're so dizzy and nauseated that you're sure you're going to puke all down your front side. You shut your eyes tight, hold on and plead with your body to not betray you, hoping the end of the ride is near, knowing there is no way off, you're stuck until its over. Finally the ride pulls into the station. You're glad its finally over, and wish you had never gotten on the ride in the first place. You start to get your bearings, the world stops spinning. Its over. It was horrible, but its over and you don't have to ride that ride again. A deep breath, muscles relax and you start to look forward to the next ride. The next one will be different. The next ride you get on will be wonderful, smooth, happy, and everything it should be.
All the safety bars go up and people exit, but for some reason yours doesn't move. You take a deep breath. "Its okay. I won't have to do this again. I'll just wait and the bar will go up so I can leave," but the ride inches forward. "NO!" You want desperately to get off! "It'll stop. It'll stop. Let me out!" But the safety bar stays down, the ride moves forward and you have to go through the whole nightmare again. At least this time you have an idea of whats ahead. As the ride pulls into the station again you think "Please let this bar up! Don't make me do this again! I can't do it again."
Emotionally I don't feel as heartbroken this time. I think this is partially because I didn't let myself get as attached as last time. I only let myself read pregnancy information for the week I knew I had completed. I didn't read ahead so I didn't have an unrealistic idea of where our baby was at in their development. I figured (and I think rightfully so) that it would be more devastating to me to lose our baby if I was thinking of it as further developed than it was. I didn't let myself put a single milestone on the calendar.
At the same time, not attaching as fully to this baby brought on feelings of guilt. I wanted so badly to be excited, and plan things out for this baby, put development milestones in my calendar and all the exciting things every pregnant woman should get to do. Last time though, it was so devastating to undo everything I had done and let go of the dreams we had for our child, so this time, to protect myself, I didn't let myself get to that point.
Don't misunderstand, we were still so sad about the loss of this baby. Its been especially upsetting to know that we've now lost more children than we've had. One thing that helped is that we had already decided to move on to adoption and felt very strongly about it when we found out that I was still pregnant and wasn't miscarrying as we had been told.
Something else that is difficult about miscarriage is the loss of symptoms. Some drop off right away and others take a little longer. When I first started losing symptoms it was difficult because its a fading of the connection with that baby. Before I miscarried I had several signs of pregnancy, I felt very pregnant. It was a comforting feeling that helped me know our baby was growing. When I miscarried that was taken away. Its like something is slipping through your fingers and you can't hold onto it.
The symptoms that linger are difficult in their own way. You know you've miscarried, but its like part of your body is still going through the pregnancy motions. I kept wanting to tell my body, "the baby is gone. Stop. There's no reason to be doing this. Just stop." It reminds me of when I went for a walk with Aurelia and she tried to put a leaf back on a tree when it fell off. She was still putting in the effort for something that couldn't be fixed. It was over.
Even though I was a week further along this time, the bleeding wasn't as bad. I think it helped that last time was so horrifying that my bathroom experiences this time were almost like time trials. Into the bathroom, hurry, out of the bathroom, move on.
The cramping was a lot more painful this time. Even though I stopped bleeding about a week ago I'm still cramping pretty strongly and regularly.
I tried distracting myself a lot with yard work and gardening with this miscarriage. I really don't recommend this unless you have a green thumb. I transplanted tulips to a front flower bed and they died. I bought a shrub to plant and it died before it could be planted. I planted a row of sunflowers along our fence and the birds ate all of them that actually managed to sprout. I planted a packet of wildflowers and I don't know why but not a single one grew. It was disappointing, but I was disproportionately upset because it felt like everything was dying and I couldn't keep anything alive. Not a good feeling to heap on top of yourself after losing a baby. I was so relieved when my friend Kandis said the tulips dying wasn't my fault, apparently tulips don't last long and their growing season was done. It was nice to hear I wasn't to blame.
Another thing that helped was a lot of prayer. I prayed a lot that this miscarriage would finish quickly and that emotionally I would figure out how to deal with it better than last time. I've felt more peace this time. For the most part I was calm.
Sometimes, something will trigger a breakdown and I'll need to take a little time to cry and deal with it but I really am doing well. We are preparing to bring future children into our family through adoption and doing what we can to help the process along. We know that there are more children out there who will come to our family and they will know they are so loved, wanted and adored :)
This experience has been so difficult but I am grateful to now have the perspective and ability to empathize with those who experience this kind of loss after me. I am so thankful that I have been able to help others through our experiences. While I hope I never have another miscarriage, and if I could undo them I would, I am grateful for the growth they have provided me and the strength they've shown me I have.