Thursday, October 20, 2016

Healing From A Miscarriage & Surviving Postpartum Depression

October is Infant & Pregnancy Loss month. It is a month that I never imagined touching my life. It is a club that I prayed to God that I would never be a part of. But in July, I lost my 4th baby in utero. At 9 weeks my sweet child stopped developing. I felt the world slip from underneath me. I have felt all of the cyclical feelings and emotions that come with a miscarriage. There has been sadness. grief. shock. anger. blaming. guilt.

There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about my child. I believed the baby was a girl despite what the Chinese Gender Chart read. A baby girl who would be born in February. Although my due date was the 1st of March, I knew I would be induced like with the others. My heart skipped a beat at the thought of having a baby girl in the same month as my birthday. It was something that I had hoped for all my life. And I wanted to bad to give Adelaide a sister. The gift of life-long friendship like I have with my two sisters. I remember thinking to myself how cool that by push present (a ring with the kids birthstones) went from light stones to dark stones and how neat of a coincidence that was to me. How all of the things in the universe had to add up for that to happen. Only an amethyst could be darker than sapphire. I remember planning so many things about my baby's life, our family's life. How we would all 6 fit together as one. What it would be like to have 3 children born in NY and 1 born in KY. How it was a miracle at all that the baby had been conceived according to my ovulation kit. Looking back, it just all seemed to good to be true. And it was.

Initially I thought my body was healing quickly and easily from the D&C. I had minimal bleeding the first 3 days and I felt like God was going easy on me. Until the wave of hormones hit me like a ton of bricks. We were at Hurstbourne during a hot summer night. My bleeding became heavy and I was feeling the pains of afterbirth. Aspen was inconsolable and begging for me to pick him up. But I couldn't because it hurt too bad. Ryan's flight was delayed and delayed and delayed. I felt myself getting upset. My temperature rising. The most overwhelming feeling coming over me where I just wanted to close my eyes and not wake up. I had to take a few deep breaths and try to pull it together. I cried so hard that night for hours. Replaying every last minute of the past two months in my head. Why? Why? Why? What had I done wrong? What did this happen?

It wasn't until about 2 weeks later when I began to have some horrible thoughts that I knew something was off. I would think what if I just never woke up. My kids would be better off. My husband wouldn't care. No one would really notice. I had failed to be able to carry my child. My body betrayed me. I was unfit to be a mother. One morning I drove to Starbucks after making sure to kiss each of my kids and tell them, "mommy loves you more than anything in the world and she is so sorry." I didn't intend to do anything but my emotions & hormones were all over the place that I wanted to be sure if it was the last time I saw them that they knew how much I cared & loved them. It was in that moment after a long tear-filled drive that I realized I had post partum depression.

I can't say that I am totally surprised. The level of stress and anxiety I had been under for a considerable amount of time finally took its toll on me. Losing my child was the tipping point in the words of Malcolm Gladwell. When I became pregnant with Brighton, I was beyond excited. Adelaide and Aspen has been such a joy and to get pregnant so easily was a blessing. But a few days later when I began spotting, my mind filled with worry. It would be an unbelievably emotional roller coaster for the remainder of the pregnancy. Resulting in him being induced early and being delivered in NYC. While I was thrilled that he was alive, healthy, and not needing heart surgery, there was such shock and relief from all of the thoughts & feelings I had felt over the previous 37.5 weeks. I wasn't sure how to process it all and for the first time in my life I was unprepared and speechless.

As 2016 began, I felt more like myself and into a groove. Things with LIO (the professional tennis tournament I was the TD for) seemed to be moving in a positive direction and for the first time in a long time I felt like I was making a difference in people's lives (other than the kids). I was proud that the money my parents had spent on graduate school and all of the hard earned education I had endured was paying off in a professional setting. My dad was probably the proudest that he has ever been of me and for that my heart was bursting with pride. But like many things in life, they aren't always what they seem or rather people aren't always who they seem. In my naive world, I had failed to properly vet someone within the operation. As the truth came out, I realized that the entire company and tournament were going to fall apart. With everything in my power, I tried to save it but in the end, I had to resign. It broke my heart. All that the team and I had worked so tirelessly for...the late nights, the early mornings, the travel, the neglect of my marriage & family. It had all been for virtually nothing. On top of that I was being threatened if I told the truth so I feared for myself and my kids' future. I am not sure that I have fully gained closure on this situation making it all the more stressful.

Add the stresses of life as a mother of 3 living in NY and longing for "home" plus our life changing decision to return to our roots and having a miscarriage really did send me over the edge. My heart and my mind just couldn't handle another stress. Certainly not one that meant losing a part of our family.

When I finally processed what was happening, I let my mom and Ryan know. I broke down in tears as I filled them in on my thoughts and feelings from the past days and weeks. It was hard as I choked on my words but ultimately I felt a bit of weight lifted off my shoulders. I began to be intentional about working out and getting myself into a routine. BYOU Fitness has given me such strength in mind over matter while also strengthening my body. I have been able to play tennis weekly which brings such joy to my life. It reminds me of my youth and all of the wonderful memories I relate to tennis. And I play the game with ease because I truly love it and appreciate it. I have seen a psychologist a few times to talk out my feelings. I cannot say enough positive things about this experience as it has allowed me to speak freely and honestly without being afraid of judgement. Also my psychologist is not trying to "fix" things rather just be a sounding board for my thoughts. I have had amazing friends and family help me through this time as well. My girls trip to San Antonio was the best 48 hour therapy I could have ever asked for. I love my people and am so blessed to have them in my life.

Physically things are different now too. I have had 3 cycles since my D&C and I feel everything. Every twinge or pain or cramp is magnitude now. Things happen down there that didn't happen before. It is often a constant reminder of what I lost. I would be 20 weeks now with a baby bump to sport under my fall clothes. I think about how I would be lugging the other 3 somewhere with my big belly and what people would be saying. "You've got your hands full." or "Oh boy another one!" Sometimes at Target, I pass by the maternity section just to see what I would have been wearing now. My body pillow rests inside my closet and no matter how many times I try to tuck it away so it will go unnoticed it always peeks back out at me.

I bought an angel wing charm to accompany my faith tag and number 3 necklace. I just don't want my baby's memory to die too. Because I will never forget. Not until we meet again.

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