“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” –Mark Twain
I wanted to find that joy. That thing that made me get out of bed and dance my way to the coffee pot every morning. We hear it over and over again, follow your passion and it will lead you to success. Every time I heard this, I would question myself “why didn’t I know what my passion was?” and “how can I follow my passion if I don’t know what it is?, I guess I’ll never be successful”. I started believing that I was going to live my life in this rut, in this hamster race, just going through the motions and not really finding joy or connection. Honestly, I had really given up on finding my passion and believed that I didn’t have one, until devastation tore my world apart. It was almost like the universe was screaming at me to look at my life, to really start analyzing what parts of it I loved and what aspects I needed to move on from.
In between having our two sons, my husband and I went through the excruciating pain of experiencing four miscarriages. During these difficult times, I was so overcome with grief and questions, that I couldn’t see how this was affecting my life. Two years after our second son was born, we experienced two more miscarriages, the fifth one being absolutely gut wrenching because it had been further along. It was at this time that I really started asking “why?”. Why was God or the universe putting me through so much pain? I knew there was a message I was supposed to get, but I wasn’t really sure what it was.
This was the time that I really started exploring personal development. I needed a way to get out of this pain that I had been experiencing for 4 years. I needed to know that there was more to life than just going through the motions. But still, I didn’t know my passion. I didn’t know what it was that I wanted to pursue that was going to bring me success or make me feel alive again. My main questions were “What the f*ck do people mean when they say follow your passion?” and “How can I find my passion?”
I used to love to ride horses, but I didn’t want to do that for a living. I used to love to run. I started reconnecting with my love of running, but that still wasn’t bringing me the fulfillment that I yearned for. I used to love to write, but how could I use this to help others and feel connected? My coach and I discussed how I could integrate writing into my life and how I could use it to help others. This developed into me creating a blog to help other women who had experienced pain through miscarriages. However, this wasn’t helping women to get out of that funk, it wasn’t helping them to reconnect with themselves and their joy. It was at this point that I discovered that I wanted to be a life coach so that I could develop the tools necessary to help others. And I loved it! Like, I truly loved it. I don’t just do it to make money, I do it because it sparks something in me, it lights me up inside!
But I couldn’t stop at that. I needed to know why. Why did I want to write? Why did I want to coach? What had lit that fire inside of me? Had I always had that and forgotten about it? The answer to that is complicated. Yes, I had always enjoyed writing and just hadn’t done anything about it. And yes, I had always liked helping people, hence me becoming a teacher. But it wasn’t until I had experienced the worst pain I had ever known, that I realized my why. My why for starting my blog, for sharing my story. My why for wanting to become a life coach, was to ensure that no one ever felt alone in the grief process. I wanted to help people through that pain and show them that they could come out of it even happier.
The moral of the story is that not everyone knows their passion when they are born. It’s a term that is thrown around a lot that can be intimidating and make you feel insignificant because you haven’t figured out your passion. So, here’s my advice to you, curtesy of Tom Bilyeu: “go out and try shit”. See what sticks. But don’t stop there. Once you figure out what you love, figure out why you love it. Cause you aren’t always going to be motivated to do the work. You need to have a very deep why, a why that will get you out of bed every day and make you want to dance to the coffee pot because you are so inspired.
I avoid the doctor, specifically my gynecologist. I haven’t always been this way, I used to be very diligent about my yearly appointments. I’m sure any therapist can look at my past and immediately see why I would specifically avoid the gynecologist, and even I logically know why I steer clear of that office, but I don’t think I really faced it until just recently. I was listening to a podcast about grief and one of the statements that really stuck with me was that we need to sit in the pain and walk through the pain in order to heal. I have read this before but hadn’t really applied it fully to my life. I’ve known that working through the pain of our miscarriages was important in order to really recover from it and be able to help others through the struggle. What I didn’t face was the fact that there were aspects of that pain that I wasn’t experiencing, almost like different rooms of the pain that I was avoiding. Imagine that the pain of the miscarriages were the main rooms of the house, but there were parts of the house that I really didn’t need to visit every day and therefor completely ignored. That’s how the doctor was for me. A part of the house that I hadn’t visited in a very long time because it brought me too much pain, it was the epicenter of the pain. So, I just closed the door and pretended it didn’t exist. Except, by my own definition and definition of experts on how to recover from grief, I wasn’t really walking through it, I wasn’t feeling the pain and recovering, I was avoiding. Anyone who has experienced a traumatic event, or multiple traumatic events in my case, can understand why you would want to avoid the scene of the crime. Even my doctor understood. After my last miscarriage, he looked at me and told me not to come back for a while, that he didn’t want to see me. He explained that I needed to heal and that returning to the office would just cause more trauma, almost like PTSD. I took his advice whole heartedly, and maybe took it too far. I ended up taking 2 years off of going to the doctor.
Friends! We need to sit in the pain, the grief. We need to feel it and face it, in order to really heal. Closing the door to that room and pretending it isn’t there isn’t going to help, it isn’t going to help you grow as a person. Currently, we are collectively, as a world, sitting in a lot of grief and loss. And in our nation, we are grief stuck. We don’t like to face the pain and sit in it. We like to close the door and pretend it isn’t there. I guess the question is, how do we know if we are avoiding the pain? I look at my life and see what activities am I actively avoiding? In my circumstance, this is the doctor. It’s time I face my fear and go back to the doctor and sit in that room and let myself heal. What room are you avoiding? What room do you need to open the door to and sit in, in order to really feel your discomfort and grief so that you can truly recover?
It hit me like a ton of bricks. It was one of those “AHA” moments that immediately made me cry. I had been listening to an interview by David Kessler, the co-author of “On Grief and Grieving” and the author of “Finding Meaning, The Sixth Stage of Grief” when this “AHA” moment struck me. Kessler was being interviewed about grief and loss and was discussing the interviewer’s loss. Before continuing the conversation, Kessler asked the interviewer the name of the person that had passed away. He explained that he did this because it is so important to name the person instead of just referring to him or her as a loss. This is when it hit me. This is the difference between the loss of a human that had lived a life and the loss of a baby that had never been born. There wasn’t a name. My six losses never had a name or a face. Because there wasn’t a name, other people had not made a connection to this life. And because other people had not formed that connection, they tended to have interesting reactions and responses to the pain of a miscarriage. This gave people the permission to say things like “well, it wasn’t meant to be” or “be grateful for what you have” or “just try again”. People don’t say those things to someone after a death. No one says at a funeral “well, it just wasn’t meant to be”. I knew this, I’ve known it for 5 years. I knew that people responded weirdly to miscarriages, but I couldn’t figure out why. The life, the baby, didn’t have a name. We hadn’t put that significance on the life yet. We hadn’t experienced or created memories yet. Except we had, hadn’t we? For those that have been through the pain, you know this to be true. You know that you had named it, you had made memories with it. Maybe those weren’t official names, but you had immediately started thinking of names, you had immediately put an identity on the life. And maybe you hadn’t experienced memories with the baby, but you had imagined a life and the memories you would make together. You had the memory of learning you were pregnant. You had the memory of your body changing from a life growing in you, but you didn’t have the memories created once the life was born. To others, there wasn’t a name. Those memories weren’t imagined by anyone else. So, they say things like “it wasn’t meant to be”, or “just try again”. These people don’t realize the pain they are inflicting with their words, they really are just trying to be supportive and helpful, but they didn’t see the imagined life that we saw.
Where do we go with this information? We learn, we grow ,and we teach. If you know someone who is going through a miscarriage or has been through a miscarriage (because that loss and pain is never gone), talk to them. Keep in mind that this baby DID have a name. I think about some of my friends who made me felt heard when going through my miscarriages and the one thing they had in common was that they acknowledged that they didn’t know what to say but that they were so sorry for the pain I was in and were there to listen. Please DO NOT discount their pain because it is a pain you do not understand. That life and baby had a name in their momma’s heart.
I walked into the house, looked around and immediately started yelling at Joe. I was pissed! How come I couldn’t go to my office (my she-shed in my backyard) for just one hour without coming back to the house looking like a total shit show? How the hell was I supposed to get anything done with my own business if I couldn’t leave for just an hour or two? These are the things I yelled at my husband. He was at a total loss. He didn’t know where this was coming from. We had been in Shelter in Place for a week and half and I hadn’t had a break down, yet. I hadn’t cried, I hadn’t been upset, I had just powered through. I instantly took on the new role of being the home-school teacher and the stay at home mom. A role, that I had never wanted. I had JUST quit teaching because I knew I wanted something different in my life. I knew I wanted to help other women find themselves and know that there IS more to this life than just going through the motions.
I didn’t realize until a few days later why I had been so upset with my husband. I didn’t realize why I resented the fact that he was able to work his job when I was suddenly putting my dreams on hold. When shelter in place started, I immediately thought “well, Joe makes the money right now, and with the market dropping, we need him to continue to make the money, so I’ll be the home-school teacher and I’ll embrace it with joy”. And that’s when I lost myself. Again! Why, as women, do we do this to ourselves? Why do we put our dreams and our wants on the back burner in order to make everyone else feel good? Do the kids need someone to teach them while they are home? Yes? Does Joe need time to work his job, so we continue to get a paycheck? Yes. But that doesn’t mean my dreams are put on hold or that I need to lose my identity at the same time. And that doesn’t mean that everything I’ve learned over the last two years, about how to live into my dreams, needs to be thrown out the window. And the thing is, Joe never expected these things of me. I put these expectations on myself. Why? How? Because, in our society we are taught that it isn’t lady like to continue to work on your own dreams while your kids are home and needing you. It’s considered selfish to not want to be the home-school teacher. Maybe this sounds harsh. Maybe it sounds jarring. I agree. It is. And I’m not saying to just ignore this situation and the pain that it may be causing your children at this time. Right now, our whole family needs to be a family unit and be there for each other in our greatest time of need. However, what I am saying is that we, as moms, can’t ignore our needs as well. We need to take time to grieve. We need to take time to adjust to the new normal. We also need to figure out how to not throw our dreams away during this time and how to still be true to ourselves. We need to figure out how to realize that chasing our dreams, even during a pandemic, is not considered selfish.
For the first week of quarantine, I embraced it all. I used all my tools and motivation to stay happy and full of joy. I think I was still in the first stage of grief at this point “denial”. By the second week, I wasn’t as consistent, I was more “hit and miss”. What do I mean by that? One day I felt great and then the next day I felt exhausted and just wanted to lay in bed and watch Hallmark Christmas movies. I was grieving; but I didn’t know it. I was grieving the loss of my dream and the routines that I had established. I was grieving the fact that everything around us was changing and it was hard. And I couldn’t talk about it because that isn’t lady like. We aren’t supposed to grieve. We are supposed to be strong and not actually admit that we don’t always have our shit together. What if, during these hard times, especially in these hard times, being the “good mom” and the “good wife” actually means living INTO your dreams and taking time for ourselves? What if it means stepping up and being your true self? What if that looked different for every mom and wife? What if that means some of us are truly amazing at home schooling our kids? Or that some of us are rock stars at making the schedules and art projects for our children? But what if it also meant that some of us aren’t rock stars in that arena but are amazing at being entrepreneurs? Or are awesome at running a business? Or have a skill at bringing people together in hard times? What if being a “good mom”, meant that we teach our children how to be true to themselves by watching us be true to ourselves?
How do we do this? How do we create time to chase our dreams when we might be lacking in time or space? This has been my biggest challenge and something that I have had to play around with. I can’t tell you what type of schedule will work for you, that is something you are going to need to tweak. For me, it means that when Joe is finished with work, I go to our room and work on my projects. Sometimes that looks like actual work and sometimes that looks like meditation or just reading a good book. I also take more time on the weekends to escape to my office to really focus on things that make me happy or bring me joy. I try to use this time to connect with my friends (zoom happy hours) or to just be in a quiet environment without any type of connection to news or social media. I spend a lot of time working on keeping my inner peace. These are the ways that I have been able to stay connected with myself and my dreams. Your schedule may look a little different, but I do urge you to find a way to stay connected to your true self. I hope, as women, we are able to find a way to create a safe, nurturing environment for our family, as well as creating a safe, nurturing environment for ourselves.
Uugghhh!! I’m being so dramatic!!! No, I didn’t actually leave my family. Well, I did, but I came back. And it wasn’t the type of leaving where I storm out of the house, slamming the door, upset that no one ever listens to me. I would never do that. :) No, this was the type of leaving that I would consider self-care. The kind that everyone needs in order to re-group, re-focus and re-center your life.
After the holidays, my son’s birthday and Joe being out of town, I was starting to feel out of sorts. I hadn’t had a chance to sit and plan out my year or figure out where I wanted to go with my life. I had changed careers, was starting a new business but hadn’t really stopped to think what was next. So, I left. I knew this meant my family would have to make some adjustments while I was gone, but I also knew that my husband is fully capable of taking care of the kids. When my boys asked why I was leaving I told them “Because it’s important that mommy take some time to herself. And I need to think about how I want to grow my business”. I think this is one of the most important lessons I could teach my children. First, it’s important to take care of yourself and take time to decompress. Second, their mommy is building a business. I want them to know that women are just as capable of building a business as men. But the lessons I learned from leaving were not the lessons I had expected to learn.
When I scheduled the day away, I really did so in order to get away and be pampered. I had convinced myself that a spa day is what my brain needed in order to relax. So, I had the mimosa. I splurged on the massage. I sat in the in the sauna. Was this relaxing? In a way, yes. There weren’t children following me everywhere. No one was needing my attention at all times. But I still felt anxious. Almost like “well, I’m here at the spa. Relax! Now!!” I felt like I had an obligation to be relaxed and if I wasn’t there was something wrong with me. I decided to go on a walk. I brought my notepad to journal, even though I HATE journaling. I’ve never been a person who journals. But I had heard that sometimes you just need to write down everything that comes to your mind. I found a courtyard, got another mimosa (I mean, why deny myself that joy), and just started writing. Honestly, I didn’t even know what I had wanted to write about but suddenly I had written five pages. Five pages!!! The next morning, I did the same thing. And I wrote three more pages! My hand couldn’t keep up with my brain. I realized that I hadn’t connected with nature in a very long time. I hadn’t sat in silence and just listened to the birds or watch the clouds for years. Years!! Here’s the thing. Your body craves nature. It needs fresh air and stillness in order to be healthy. It literally lowers your blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension. My brain hadn’t felt so alive in a long time. By the time I got home, I was so relaxed and ready to be a patient, loving wife and mom again.
Yes, a spa visit is very nice to help aid relaxation. But it isn’t needed. Want to relax but can’t afford to jaunt off to a spa? Go outside! Take a hike. Literally. And you guys, I’m not so oblivious that I don’t realize a lot of you are single parents and are barely holding it together. Finding time to take a hike or sit in nature seems like a crazy stretch. Bring the kids. Yes, you’ll still hear them and there might be whining, but kids love nature. Bring a notepad. You can journal and the kids can draw what they see. Or better yet, ask your friends for help!! I have no idea what it’s like to be a single parent, but I can tell you this, when Joe is out of town, I find myself spiraling. Knowing this, I would jump at any chance I had to help a single parent friend out. I’d gladly take your kids for a few hours so you can get away and regroup. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Moral of the story, you need to take time for yourself. We’ve convinced ourselves that this looks like getting our nails done, getting a massage or going to the spa. But it doesn’t have to cost us money to reconnect. Go outside! Sit in some quiet time. You’ll be a better mom, wife and business owner (even if that business is CEO of your household).
Grief is not a competition. This may sound obvious when stated like this but let me explain why it’s a phrase that is important to remember. A little while back, I received an email stating that I was being insensitive by referring to my “6 miscarriages” (yes, this person put it in quotes as if I had made up the number) in my social media posts. She stated that there are other people who have suffered through more miscarriages and worse loss than I had and that I should stop talking about it (harsher words and phrases were used, but this is my PG version). At first I was angered by this and had to stop and think about what I had written. It hadn’t been easy for me to put my story out there for everyone to read. It wasn’t easy to be so vulnerable and re-live the trauma. It also wasn’t easy for my husband to have to re-read it all and see it all in writing. But when we decided, as a couple, to share our story, we knew there was a reason. We had been through so much and through all of it, there really weren’t a lot of people to turn to. I never wanted anyone to feel alone when having to go through such pain. So I made it my mission to take what I had learned and help support those behind me. How could someone read what I was putting out there and think that I was being insensitive? How could someone read about my real losses and think “she hasn’t experienced enough pain in order to help anyone”. But then it was pointed out to me by two of my friends that grief is not a competition. How many miscarriages would I need to have suffered through in order for me to be an “expert” on it and feel that I could help someone? How much suffering does one person need to experience in order to be considered competent enough to talk about grief? How does a person quantify someone else’s grief? Are there other people who have been through a lot worse than I have? Absolutely!!! I have never once thought to myself that my pain is worse than someone else’s. When a friend turns to me for help because she is suffering through her first miscarriage, I don’t think to myself “well, this doesn’t actually count as pain because you’ve only had one”. It doesn’t matter how much pain or loss someone has experienced, it is still grief and no one has the right to judge someone else’s grief.
The next day, as I was overanalyzing this email and wondering what I was supposed to learn, I almost spit out my coffee. Like, coffee almost came spilling out of my nose when I had a huge AHA moment. I had just come back from one of the best experiences of my life. I had spent an entire week surrounded by amazing human beings trying to achieve amazing goals. I had just been certified as a High Performance Coach by Brendon Burchard and I was on a total high. It was the end of a year where I had pushed myself into unfamiliar situations in order to grow as an individual and as a business owner. I have learned over and over again that when you start on a new journey, and there is push back, it is the universe making sure that you are prepared to face the mountain in front of you. That when you start a new project, not everyone is going to agree with it, but that’s ok, those people aren’t the ones that need to hear your voice. That when you talk about something hard but true, there will be push back. So, while drinking my coffee and overanalyzing this email I had received, it hit me like a truck!!! This!!!! This hard stuff that I’m talking about, miscarriages, loss, grief, this is what needs to be talked about MORE!! Our society is so uncomfortable with grief and talking about hard things. Did you know that up until the 1920’s and 30’s, our society was completely fine and open with grief. It was a part of daily lives. Death wasn’t a shunned conversation because most families comforted the dying in their homes. People weren’t going to hospitals as much and medicine wasn’t as advanced, so death was just part of the culture. But in the 1930’s, there was a change, a switch in how we looked at life. At this time people started thinking that only the good things should be talked about (and here we are thinking this idea started with the development of social media. Nope!). Grief and death were swept under the rug and were no longer topics people discussed. And now our culture has no idea how to face it. And I’m one of the worst. When my best friend’s mom died, I had no idea how to help her. I didn’t know what to say to her and her family, so I just kept busy helping with her kids and doing the dishes. I was so uncomfortable with being around grief, that I just froze every time it was presented to me. So when I got this email about how insensitive I was being by talking about my miscarriages, it dawned on me that our culture doesn’t know how to respond to pain. That when we see someone talking about it and trying to help other’s through it, it literally repels them. So guess what? I’m going to keep talking about it. I’m going to keep reading about grief. I’m going to keep studying how to help others through grief. I’m going to keep researching grief and miscarriages. Am I doing this to be insensitive to others? No, quite the opposite actually. I’m doing this in order to help when someone experiences a loss. I’m doing it to help you if you don’t know how to be there for someone who may need you during a hard time. I’m doing it so that our society can stop thinking that life is only about the good times. Everyone experiences grief. Don’t judge someone else’s loss and how they react to it, it isn’t a competition.
Uuuggghhh, ok, here goes. Let’s talk about the biggest trench I’ve had to dig myself out of. 6 miscarriages! (maybe I’ll pour myself a glass of wine to write this) Writing this gives me such anxiety and already has me crying and I’ve only written three sentences. Yes, I’ve endured, survived, warriored through, whatever verb you want to use, six miscarriages. Who the hell does that?!! Me! And, as it turns out, many women. Why the heck isn’t this talked about more often?!! I think that’ll be another blog entry, but for now I’m just going to discuss the hell my family and I endured, and are still enduring. (There’s no sugar coating it. If you are sensitive, stop reading. Seriously.)
When I was 18, I found out that I had endometriosis. When I was 20, I had surgery to remove the endometriosis. After surgery I was put on medications to induce menopause for 6 months and to make sure all of the scar tissue was healed. I was then put on birth control pills non-stop so that my body did not experience any periods because a period would cause more scar tissue to build up which is what caused the endometriosis. I tell you this because it helped my husband and I in making our decision on when to start trying to have a baby. I was told very early on, it would most likely take me a long time to get pregnant because of my endometriosis. This is almost laughable now, because it seems that I’m the most fertile woman that has ever existed in the world. My husband and I got married and I went off birth control immediately (after the honeymoon, of course. I’m not crazy. Who wants their period on their honeymoon?!) Three months later, boom, I was pregnant. This is not where things get hard. After the easiest pregnancy (I mean don’t be too jealous, I was nauseous and huge, but it was a very normal pregnancy) our sweet little son was born. So easy!!
About a year later, my husband and I decided to have another. This is where things got hard. (sip wine) 14 months after having our son, I got pregnant. Now, I’m one of those freak of natures who knows when I’m pregnant before a test can even show it. Because of this, I also immediately start planning and dreaming about the baby that is coming. I immediately started getting cravings, started eating more and started gaining weight. Seriously. A week later a pregnancy test confirmed what we were hoping, I was pregnant. We started planning and doing all the things you’re supposed to do when you find out you are pregnant. I called the doctor and made my appointment and we told some friends and family (I worked in a somewhat unsafe classroom and needed to tell my team so that they could protect me). A few days later all of my symptoms disappeared. At first I thought I was lucky, that this was going to be an easy pregnancy. Then I realized it might be something bad. I took another pregnancy test. It was negative. What the hell did that mean?!!! I took another. And another. I was hoping that the darn blue line would come back. A few days later I had an early miscarriage. Some would say it was just a heavy period. I knew it wasn’t my normal period because it was completely different. It looked different. It felt different. And it smelled different (I told you to stop reading if you are sensitive). And then I had to make that AWFUL call to my doctor to say what had happened and that I needed to cancel my appointment. The normally bubbly receptionist became quiet and stated “a miscarriage this early is called a chemical pregnancy”. What the fuck does that mean? A chemical pregnancy??? No! It was an actual, real pregnancy! My husband and I had already started dreaming about the little baby we were going to have. It was then that I learned all of the sterile, cold, terrible names doctors use for miscarriages. Spontaneous abortion. Chemical pregnancy. No woman wants to hear those terms when they are going through hell. Those terms made me feel like it was my body’s fault or that the pregnancy didn’t really count. After hanging up the phone with the receptionist I had to call my mom and break the news to her. And the next day I had to tell my team. My only thought through all of this was, “what did I do wrong?” I started researching everything. I stayed up late (I was up anyways because I couldn’t stop crying) trying to find any information I could, to give me some answers. Everyone had theories but no one had answers, so I made up my own answers. I immediately stopped using cleaning products that weren’t natural or made by me. I started only eating food that was organic and not processed. One night I texted one of my friends to tell her about my miscarriage. She was my hippie friend and I wanted to get her thoughts on what could have happened. Instead of telling me the latest research on cleaning products and miscarriages she told me that she had just experienced a miscarriage a few weeks prior. What?!!! Seriously?! For Fuck’s sake! Though I was incredibly sad for her loss, it was almost nice having someone who could relate to what I was going through. So for the next 6 months she and I were in constant contact. In the middle of the night, when there was no one to turn to and the questions and anxiety were keeping me awake, I knew I could always rely on her to be there. You guys, I have the most supportive and understanding husband anyone could ask for, but there were aspects of a miscarriage that I could only discuss with someone who had experienced the same physical hell.
So guess what? We got pregnant a month later. And of course, my thought was, well I’ve already experienced a miscarriage, so I got that out of the way. I truly thought/hoped there was no way God would put me through that again. But I still entered this pregnancy with a little more caution. I still told my mom, because she’s my mom. And I still told my team at work because I needed them to protect me. What I didn’t do was call and make an appointment with my doctor. I just couldn’t go through with that again. What if I lost this baby and had to call them to cancel my appointment again. It was just too humiliating to think about. I started this pregnancy absolutely paranoid. I took a pregnancy test every day and sometimes twice a day. I took my temperature every morning and every day after work. I was a total mess. And then it happened again. The exact same thing! One morning I woke up and took my temperature and it was lower. I immediately ran to the bathroom and took a pregnancy test. The line had faded. I knew exactly what was happening. Again, I had to break the news to my mom and my work team. I just kept thinking “what the hell is going on? What is wrong with me? What did I do? What did I eat?” I stopped using stupid things like dry shampoo, hairspray and all medicines. I did so much research that I could probably write a book about it. I started taking notes and making my own diagnosis. At this point Joe and I decided to take a break and let my body heal. We were just entering the holiday season and we didn’t want to go through all of this again during that time. By this time, I knew that after a woman had three miscarriages she can go to a specialist and they can try to figure out what is going on. But until then, the first two miscarriages are just considered “bad luck”. Of course I had convinced myself that because I had gotten rid of every chemical in our house and I had stopped using dry shampoo and hairspray and was only eating natural foods that I wouldn’t be having another miscarriage. I was wrong. Again. In January we had our third early miscarriage and now it was time to see the doctor and try to determine what was going on. I asked my primary OB to refer me to a specialist. We found a great one near where I worked (part of me wishes I had found a doctor in a completely different state. For four years after this hell, I had to drive by that doctor’s office on my way to work every day and think about that pain.) We met with our new doctor who spent an endless amount of time with us. She listened to my entire story. She offered me tissue and a shoulder to cry on, something I hadn’t experienced with my rushed primary OB. She explained our options and possible theories of what could be the problem. My first step was to give a lot of blood, not my favorite thing. The next step was to get pregnant again and then see what happened. They would monitor it closely and take continuous blood samples to see what my levels were. When I became pregnant they would put me on meds to keep the pregnancy past 12 weeks. The specialist I was going to suggested I start acupuncture so I started doing that once a week. Obviously by this time, we were pretty wary about getting pregnant again and having to go through the pain again. But there’s something funny about hope. For some reason, hope was always there. It faded a little bit, but we still held on to that small glimmer of hope. We hoped my body would just know that we were seeing a specialist and say “ok fine, I’ll let you stay pregnant”. We hoped that the doctor would never have a chance to find out what was wrong and we would just look like a couple that was overreacting. Unfortunately, this is not what happened. We got pregnant, again. The acupuncturist was the first to notice. He felt my heartbeat through my wrist on one side and said I was pregnant. He then felt my heartbeat through my other wrist and became quiet. He said the pregnancy was faint on that side but that didn’t necessarily mean I’d lose it. What the hell did that mean?! But I knew. It was confirmed through blood tests that yes, I was pregnant. A few days later I started experiencing the awful pain that I had gotten so accustomed to reading. I was losing this one too. I went in for more blood work and they showed that my levels were decreasing instead of increasing. I started getting the questions from friends. Why are you still trying? Can’t you just be happy with what you have? Be thankful for the son you already have, some people don’t even have that. I know they were trying to be helpful but I didn’t need them confirming my own insecurities. What I needed was someone to tell me that what I was doing was ok, and that the doctors would figure it out. I just needed someone to say “I’m so sorry you’re going through this”. I spent a lot of time hiding in my room, under my covers. Researching more. Crying more. My doctor wanted to continue with what we had been doing and give it one more chance. I continued going to acupuncture. I stayed on my meds and I started to know the people working at the blood lab. Guess what? We got pregnant. Again. I know, this isn’t a shock. This was never our problem. We started the process again. The doctors monitored my levels. I just needed to make it through the 5th week. I went to the acupuncturist. He took my pulse again. I studied his face and reaction as if he were telling me my future. He smiled and said it was strong, on both sides. I cried. I went home and told Joe. And then I started cramping. I knew this cramping and pain all too well. I looked at Joe and told him. I asked him to get me some Advil and a glass of wine (yes, that’s how I dealt with it). I knew it was ending again so I was going to drink. I assumed my position in my bed, cried and went to sleep. The next morning I called the doctor and stopped by the office on my way to work to give more blood. The lady taking my blood told me how sorry she was that I was going through this. I went to work, told my team and got more sympathy head tilts. About an hour later, I got a call from the doctor. It’s a call I will never forget. The first thing she said was “Explain to me your symptoms and why you think you are having another miscarriage” I explained. Her response “well, you’ll be happy to know that your levels have more than doubled and you are not having a miscarriage. You are still pregnant and it looks very strong”. What?! I almost collapsed with relief. We discussed coming in to get an ultrasound to see the baby. Joe and I went in to see the baby and were in disbelief when we saw a heartbeat. I took a picture of that ultrasound and sent it straight to my mom. We had passed the point when I always lost the baby and could relax a little. Of course, knowing my son now, I know that he likes to keep us on our toes. Let me tell you, just because you get past that 12 week point, doesn’t mean you actually relax. For someone who has been through a miscarriage, it’s almost impossible to relax until that baby is in your arms. At our 20 week appointment our baby’s heart skipped a beat a couple of times. The doctor told us not to worry but to immediately see a specialist the next morning. Our hearts sank. Seriously?! We had come so far. That appointment turned out just fine. Though they did ask what I was eating because this was a very large child. You mean the cheeseburgers and banana cream pies weren’t creating a small baby?! At my 28 week appointment the doctor told me to keep an eye out for certain symptoms. I pretty much ignored her because in my mind we were in the clear. Nope! One morning Joe left for a work trip and I got up to take a shower. When I got out of the shower I noticed that I was bleeding. Like a lot. I started freaking out. I grabbed a pad and called my mom to come take the kids to school. I called my husband and told him what was going on. He immediately turned around and started driving home. I rushed myself to the hospital. I couldn’t even talk when I got to the hospital. Luckily my doctor had told them I was on my way and they set me up immediately to hear the heart beat to stop me from worrying. When they found that heartbeat it was like music to my ears. The doctors never actually found out what was wrong but I was put on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. I’m happy to say that after having contractions for the last three months of my pregnancy, I delivered a very healthy 10.2 pound baby boy! When he was placed on my chest, I cried harder than I’ve ever cried. The nurses thought I was crazy. They kept reassuring me the baby was healthy and fine. I told them I knew that, I was just so happy.
So you might have deduced that this only covers 4 out of the 6 miscarriages. Yup, there are two more. I’m going to write about those in the next blog because they are their own identity. I know that sounds weird and it’s hard to explain, but it’s almost like different chapters. You’ll understand more when you read it.
Please, I beg you, if you have any questions at all, please ask me. I'm an open book and here to help. If you don't feel comfortable asking on this page, do it through a message on Facebook or Instagram. I know what it's like to not know or understand everything that is happening, so please message me. I may not be able to answer all questions but I will listen.
“When you can tell your story without crying, you know you have healed”. I was going to wait to write the second chapter of our miscarriage story because the first chapter drained me so much, but I need to write it all out and get it out there. In the last blog, you read about the first four miscarriages that we suffered through. This blog entry will discuss the last two miscarriages. All of them were painfully difficult but the 5th one was probably the worst one, both emotionally and physically. It was literally the worst thing I have ever had to endure. I’ve never been able to tell the story without crying and I don’t know if I ever will.
After we had our second son together, Joe and I knew we were done trying to have children. We didn’t have any more room in our house or our car. We were old and tired and sure didn’t want to be getting up for middle of the night feedings anymore. So what did we do? We got pregnant. Ooops! Yes, we are very well aware of how babies are made but we were using the full proof method of the pull out method (too much info? Sorry.) I think we truly believed that since we had decided we were done having children, our bodies would just know to stop being fertile. (palm to face). Ok, so turns out that this wasn’t a full proof method. I had actually just started coming out of the dark from having my last baby. I was out of solitary confinement (not nursing anymore) and was able to have a little bit of free time to myself. My colleague and I were just starting to go on runs together again. It was wonderful. Then one day, after a particularly long run, I was absolutely insatiable. I was eating everything in sight but chalked it up to the long run and PMS. I thought the fact that I was gaining weight was PMS as well. If you remember from my last blog entry, in ALL of my last pregnancies, I knew almost instantly when I was pregnant. I knew before a test could tell me I was pregnant. Not this time. You’re probably asking yourself “well, was your period late?” Um, yes, yes it was. But remember, I had only stopped nursing for a few months and was still getting into a regular cycle. I happened to have a pregnancy test left over from the last time I was pregnant (I kind of hoarded them during my last pregnancy because I wanted to make sure I was still pregnant). So I randomly took it. As you can guess, I was pregnant. I did the calculations and figured out that I was five weeks pregnant. This is usually the time I would have lost a pregnancy. I instantly texted my friend (who had also gone through a miscarriage the same time I had). Don’t worry, I also called Joe. We were in shock. What does this mean? If we hadn’t lost it by now, then we were in the clear, right? Wait! We’re going to have four children?! Who does that?! Party of six?! Where would this new baby sleep? We were out of rooms. We needed a bigger car. I had just gotten rid of my maternity clothes. We were spinning.
Because of my history, my doctor wanted to see me immediately. We held off on making any plans. Kind of. I bought pregnancy clothes and Joe started looking at bigger cars. I told him to hold off till we saw a heart-beat. We went to the doctor to confirm the pregnancy. Yup, I was pregnant. Too early for a heartbeat though. My doctor wanted to see me a couple weeks later to make sure the pregnancy was going well. A few days later, Joe surprised me with a new huge ass car. I’m probably the only person alive that would get mad about someone buying them a car. I just wanted to make sure we saw a heartbeat first. I was still scared. We went to the doctor for our follow up appointment. He was quiet when he was looking at the screen. Everyone who has ever been to a doctor knows that this is not good. He said the baby hadn’t grown as much as he had anticipated but that didn’t mean anything at this point. Really?! It doesn’t mean anything?! You’re telling that to someone who’s already been through 4 previous miscarriages?! He said to come back in a few days and we would look at the growth again. (I seriously just texted my husband to bring me the wine bottle to me. In bed. Don’t worry, it’s almost empty). So we anxiously awaited the next appointment. We went in and took another look at the baby. The doctor was relieved to see that the baby had grown and he wasn’t concerned anymore. Good Lord!!! Joe and I about passed out in the room. Ok, we’re back on track. We made another appointment for a couple weeks later. We started to relax a little and embracing the fact that we were going to be a family of six and that our lives were going to be pretty chaotic. We told a few more people. I started popping out a little and ordered more maternity clothes. I signed up for the pregnancy tracker app again so I could track how big my baby was each week. October 18th. I was ten weeks. I was at work, teaching. I went to the bathroom and noticed a little bit of spotting. Spotting can be normal, right? I called my doctor. They wanted me to come in immediately. I told them I was teaching and would come in after work. I thought it was just a little bit of spotting, it couldn’t be bad. Joe couldn’t make it, the one and only appointment he has ever missed. I told him it was fine because I didn’t think it was anything bad. They immediately brought me back to the room. The doctor started the ultrasound. Again, he was quiet. He kept moving that wand around, searching for a heartbeat. He looked at me and said there wasn’t a heartbeat. My first thought was “try a different machine, this one is obviously broken”. He gave me some tissue and told me to come to his office. I tried calling Joe but he didn’t answer. I went to the doctor’s office. He had seen me through so many miscarriages already. He explained to me my options. I could let it happen naturally or I could schedule a D&C. Here’s what I knew for sure. I knew the pain of the previous miscarriages, and those had been a lot earlier on. If that was painful, how painful would a 10 week miscarriage be? I knew that I couldn’t go to work and teach, just waiting for a miscarriage to start. How was I supposed to teach like that? How was I supposed to live like that, waiting? And honestly, I knew what the early miscarriages looked like and I couldn’t even imagine what this would look like. I just couldn’t do it. I told him to schedule the next possible procedure. Joe called. I tried talking to him through tears but the phone cut out. I scheduled the appointment for the next day. The doctor gave me a pill to “help the process along” I couldn’t even think. I was in a complete daze. I checked out of the office, the receptionist giving me that “I’m so sorry” look. I made it to my car and burst into tears and called Joe. I explained to him what had happened. I told him that I had scheduled a D&C and apologized because I thought I was taking the easy way out but I just couldn’t go through another one. I don’t really remember what happened that night. I know I immediately went to my bed and researched D&C. I swallowed that damn pill. I knew exactly what it was doing and I could feel it tearing me apart.
The next day I went to the surgery center. They took me to the prep area and I cried the entire time. My doctor came and talked to me. Joe held my hand the entire time until the wheeled me to the operating room. I remember everything about that room. I remember everything about the room I was in when I woke up. I immediately started bawling uncontrollably and begged to see Joe. Side note, you know you’ve found your person when you wake up from surgery and the first words out of your mouth is his name. It’s not when you’re saying your vows or when you are in the delivery room, those are the good times. It’s when you are at your worst and the only person you want to turn to is that person. The nurse left and got him for me as well as a cup of coffee. The weird part,that was the best damn cup of coffee I’ve ever had. Maybe it was the drugs. Maybe I just needed something warm. But I still remember that cup of coffee. And I still remember the excruciating pain. Physical and emotional. Joe took me home in that big ass car. The big ass car we didn’t need anymore. The physical recovery wasn’t as quick as I had hoped. I had heard I could go back to work the next day but I couldn’t even drive at that point. I stayed in bed. The emotional recovery is still ongoing. Do I think about it every day? Not usually. But I still can’t tell the story without crying.
What about the sixth and last miscarriage? Yes, we did get pregnant again. Yes, you would think we would learn. The last pregnancy was another chemical pregnancy. It didn’t hit me as hard as the previous one. Maybe I knew it wouldn’t last. Maybe I knew not to get attached or my hopes high. Maybe I just have too much armor up at this point. What happened to that box of maternity clothes I had ordered before my fifth miscarriage? They sat in the corner of my room for two years. Yes, two years. I didn’t know what to do with them. Eventually, I gave it to Joe and told him to do something with it. I still have that big ass car. There are days I don’t even think about why we have such a big car. And then there are days that I can’t forget. Joe has offered to trade it in but that just seems like a waste to me. And don’t worry, Joe and I have learned how fertile we are and Joe put our frozen peas to good use a few months ago.
I immediately exhaled a sigh of relief the moment we were all together. Tears welled up in my eyes, as I finally felt at peace. My best friends and I don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, usually once every other year. We live in different states, have different family situations and have totally different work schedules. So scheduling time together is always a feat, but a necessary one. The three of us have been best friends since college and have been through hell and back. The funny thing is, we very rarely talk on the phone. We don’t know what happens in our day to day lives, but the moment we are all together it’s like we were never separated. And this trip was no different. I flew in to Colorado on a Thursday night, while Nissa drove in from Minnesota, and arrived at 1am. You’d think the time of day would have deterred us from talking, I mean come on, we’re old, we need our sleep. But it didn’t. We ended up talking till 3am and only forced ourselves to shut up so that we wouldn’t be completely exhausted the next day. The next morning, we drove 2 hours to the mountains. We literally never stopped talking the entire drive. (actually, we never stopped talking the three days we were together) One of the questions we kept coming back to all weekend was “why are we friends?”. I mean really, have you really tried to figure out why you are friends with your besties? The three of us come from completely different backgrounds, we had different upbringings and live totally different lifestyles. And yet we have this bond, this absolute respect for each other that keeps our friendship going. After our trip, I kept asking myself another question.
I’m just going to lay it out. What the actual fork? (I think you know which swear word I’m trying to use). I mean seriously! Why the fork is it so hard to make friends at this age? I’ve never actually had a hard time making friends. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been in the popular group, but I’ve also never been a loner. So, I’m completely at a loss as to why, at this age, I’m having such a hard time forming lasting friendships. I figured, by 42, I’d have this shit figured out. I figured, when we were moms, the cliques would stop, the judging would stop, and we would all be friends because we were grown ass women! Boy was I wrong! Why?!!! Why is the judging worse? Why are the cliques worse? What the hell is up with mom shaming?! And seriously, there’s still a “popular group?”! Come! On!!!!
Since entering my late 30’s and early 40’s, I’ve wondered how to make friends at this stage of life. I don’t know why, but making friends now seems much harder than it did when we were younger. Why is that? What makes a good set of friends? As much as l love my best friends from college, I need to have other friends to turn to who are a little more local. I need to have girls to go get coffee or a glass of wine with. Girls that I can talk to about the craziness of raising children, without the judgement and the mom shame. I want to find a group of girls who I know won’t talk about me the moment I get up from the table to go to the bathroom. But how? Why is it so fucking hard?! Why does it seem like so many moms are judging each other instead of listening and raising you up?
Here’s the funny thing. Every mom I talk to wants the same things. They want a group of friends to laugh with. To commiserate with. To hang out with without judgement. And yet, we all feel that we are being judged. So why is this? Are we judging each other? Is everyone talking about you? No. Yes. Both. Here’s what I’ve discovered. Yes, there are absolutely the moms out there that will judge you. They will talk about you when you leave the table. And they will mom shame you. BUT, and this is a big but, that is a small handful of moms. I know it feels like most moms out there are judging us, but the more women I talk to, the more I realize that they are just like me. So how do we find those women? The non judgers? The ones who will walk into your house and see a sink full of dishes or a house littered in toys and not give a rat’s ass? The one’s we can exhale with. I think it goes back to the basics. Finding women who have similar interests. When we were growing up and in high school and college, we met our friends through sports, clubs and the classes we were in. We had those similarities. Once we met each other, we had to build trust. We slowly lived life together and showed more and more vulnerability. If our friends were receptive, we became closer and eventually became best friends. I mentioned earlier that my college friends and I have been through hell in back. When I say that, I mean it. We have been there for each other through divorces, miscarriages, births, broken hearts, deaths and traumatic events. Never once did we question each other and never once did we think we were being judged. We showed up when needed, even if it meant flying across the country. And honestly, I know I may never find a group of women like them, friends that I can exhale when I’m around and just breathe. I am so grateful to have these ladies as my best friends.
In her Netflix documentary “The Call to Courage”, Brene Brown discusses shame and vulnerability. She states that “to love is to be vulnerable. We’re hardwired for belonging. The opposite to belonging is fitting in. Fitting in is assessing and acclimating. Here’s what I should say. Here’s how I should dress. Belonging is belonging to yourself first. Speaking your truth. Telling your story and never betraying yourself for other people. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are. It requires you to be who you are.” Ummm, hello!! Go back and read that. Like really, read it and think about it. Are you trying to fit in or are you trying to belong? Over the last few months, I’ve come to realize that I don’t want to “fit in”. I want to belong. So, I think the most important lesson I’ve learned is to figure out who you are first. What are your values and beliefs? What are your boundaries? What brings you joy? What type of person makes you feel valued and seen? After you figure these things out, you know what type of friends you want. You know what your interests are, and you will find similar types of women when pursuing those values and interests.
So, for all the ladies who are worried about making friends, I’ll tell you what I tell my step daughter that just entered high school, “don’t worry about it. It’ll happen in time, as long as you are being yourself”. And to all those women who are judging other moms. STOP IT!! JUST STOP! We’re all doing our best to raise our children and most of us are already judging ourselves enough. We don’t need you judging us as well.
Weird. It’s the only word I can use to describe this week. Joe keeps telling me it’s the wrong word, but I can’t really think of another word. Just weird.
I started this week knowing it was going to be rough. I had two funerals to attend and it was National Pregnancy Loss day, which also happened to be the anniversary of our second miscarriage. Cause, yes, I did actually have a miscarriage on National Pregnancy Loss day. It’s my luck. I did a lot of mental prepping to make sure that I would be able to get through this week and be strong for those that needed me. I had assumed that I knew what was coming my way and I could plan for it, but I was wrong. See, here’s the thing with personal development and having it lead you to your purpose, it scares people. It scares me. People start questioning you and wondering why you are doing what you are doing. I question it! I question if I am on the right path and if I am actually helping people. But every once in a while, you get a sign. Something that tells you you’re on the right path and something that might even make you take greater leaps. My sign came in many different forms this week.
I attended the funeral of a high school friend. Honestly, it was a friend that I hadn’t kept in touch with since high school, but his death was a huge loss in a lot of my friend’s lives. I knew going to this was going to be sad, he was so young and such an amazing person. I also knew that I was going to see a lot of people from high school that I hadn’t seen in over 20 years and I was prepared to deal with that weirdness. I thought. During the reception I was immediately approached by a girl I went to high school with. In all honesty, I didn’t recognize her. I’m the worst with recalling names and have the absolute worst memory you can imagine. But that’s not really the point here. This girl told me she read my blog. I was pretty taken aback. I know some of my friends read it and have a told a couple friends about it who have experienced pregnancy loss, but I never imagined someone that I didn’t even recognize from high school would have read it. She thanked me for writing it and told me how much it helped her get through the pain of her miscarriages. We talked for a while about the feelings that go with miscarriages and how we wish more people would talk about it. She also confided in me that she is 8 weeks pregnant now and is scared out of her mind. I could totally relate to her and told her the amazingness of how it feels when you get through that pregnancy and then finally get to hold that baby. I’m not sure if I helped her, but I appreciated having someone else to talk with about this type of pain. This encounter also helped validate that I am helping women, women I don’t even know I am helping. But that wasn’t the really weird thing. This is where it gets super weird.
I went home after the funeral and was exhausted. Emotionally and physically. But I knew I still needed to face what the day was to my husband and I, the anniversary of the loss of our baby as well as National Pregnancy Loss Day. My sweet husband had gone out and purchased a candle to light in remembrance. “Wave of Light” is part of the Remembrance Day. Everyone who has experienced a loss is supposed to light a candle at 7pm their time, for an hour, which would then create a wave of light throughout the nation. Part of me dreaded this part of my day but part of me also needed to take this time to remember all of our losses and think about them with Joe. We turned the lights off in our room and Joe lit the candle. I held it while thinking about all of our pain, as well as the gratitude I had from what I have learned through this journey. Joe took a picture of me while I was holding the candle. When he showed me the picture, I just stared at it. I looked up at him, in shock, and asked him if he saw what I saw. He looked at it and just looked back at me. “You see it, right?” He just smiled. I said, “That’s weird, right?” His response “That’s not weird”. The more I looked at it, the more I saw. For those who have not read the story of my miscarriages, go read it. Very long story short, I have suffered through 6 miscarriages. Five of the miscarriages were early miscarriages, but one of them was 10 weeks along and resulted in a D and C. Look at the picture of me holding the candle. You will first see the large orb above my head. But if you look closely, you will see 5 more small orbs. They look like little white flecks on our head board. You guys!!! There aren’t white flecks on my headboard. When I saw the picture, I kept looking at my headboard to see if I was missing something. Those spots aren’t there! There are 6 (the same number of miscarriages) orbs surrounding me. I pointed this out to Joe and he just stared at me. Again, I said “that’s weird, right?”. Again, he said “that’s not weird”. We talked about whether they are always with me or if they were just there for this day. He seems to think that it was probably just for that day and time because we’ve never seen them in any other picture I’ve taken, and I take a lot of pictures! But let’s be honest, anyone who’s ever gone through this knows that they are always with us. Whether they show up in a picture or not, the memory or spirit is always there. Like the actual miscarriages themselves, I knew there was something I was supposed to learn from this. It solidified that I was on the right path and it also gave me the peace I was looking for in knowing that I was doing what was right. It was almost like the orbs were telling me to keep sharing my story. Like they were there to remind me that I needed to keep thinking of them, and all the other losses, and to not stop when it gets hard. To not care what others were thinking of my journey, but to continue on the path of helping other women out there. I was only supposed to keep that candle lit for an hour, but I had a hard time blowing it out after an hour, so I let it burn for 2 hours. When I blew it out, I told my little orbs that they can stay with me or I would see them again next year, but that I wouldn’t forget them, and I would live my life to the fullest in their memories.
You guys, I know it’s hard at times, but follow your path. Pay attention to those signs and live the life you were put here for.
I'm an average girl who has discovered her passion for self-development after warrioring (yes, it's a word) through 6 miscarriages. I took that passion and applied it to helping others find their passions through High Performance Coaching. Boy mom to two "energetic boys" and navigating the art of being a step mom to a teenage girl, all while working daily on maintaining an authentic relationship with the best husband around. Sometimes mindful. Sometimes a runner. Always a little crazy!