Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Past Year

When I started this blog four years ago, it was a place for me to share our story. The highs, the lows, the once-in-a-lifetime moments and the everyday moments. December of last year, that stopped. I continued to share the highs but never published the lows. At first it was because I didn't think it was your business. It's still not your business, but it's a burden I have carried for almost a year and it is so, so heavy. Very few know our story from beginning to end, and I'm tired, so tired, of keeping up with who knows what and how much. And so today, I am going to share it with all of you. I don't know who will read this but I'm sure this will benefit me far more than you. If you click away now, my feelings will not be hurt. This post will be long because I refuse to break it up into more than one. I want to get it out, all of it, and then move on. More than anything I just want to move on.

To begin, below is a post I wrote several months ago.

On November 24, 2010, Michael and I found out we were going to have a baby. After I took the test, one line showed up. I threw it in the trash and took a shower. After I got out, I decided to give it one more look (no idea why) and noticed a very, very faint second line. I must have picked up the test 20 times. Dried my hair. Picked up the test. Put on make-up. Picked up the test. I finally googled "faint second line" and found out I was one of many who'd had the same issue. All signs pointed to "you're pregnant." With the test in my hand, I ran upstairs to tell Michael the news. He'd been very sick all week so we'd slept in separate beds the night before. I woke him and only then realized I wasn't wearing anything and he was staring at me like I had 10 heads. So much for a neat story. In his sick stupor, he smiled and lifted his hand to give me a high-five. Not the reaction I was expecting, but pretty impressive given his state.

Work was impossible that day. I couldn't think about anything but the test and our baby. I was preparing for busy season so I had a million things to keep me busy but only one thing I cared about. I called my doctor to let her know the news and then counted the hours until I could leave. When I got home that evening I took another test--one that said "Pregnant" or "Not pregnant," and we had our official answer in writing. We hopped in the car and drove to Fort Smith as it was the day before Thanksgiving.

Michael and I always thought we'd wait several weeks before telling our families but I knew I couldn't keep this a secret for 4 days so we told my family that night. Everyone screamed, hugged, and a few had teary eyes (including myself). It was wonderful. We taught Evan to say "cousin."

The next few weeks were a blur. Busy season really kicked in and I was forced to put my personal thoughts aside for the most stressful time of my life. For 45+ hours a week, I was working a mile a minute. I'm not sure if it was stress or I caught Michael's bug, but I got very sick the second week of December. I was so looking forward to the weekend so I could relax and not worry about work.

Sunday morning I woke up and noticed blood. It wasn't much but I remember closing my eyes and saying, "No, no, no, no." Over and over again. I called the on-call doctor and she told me to call my doctor the next morning. It was, obviously, a long day.

Monday morning I woke up to more blood. I called the doctor and she told me to come in for an ultrasound. Michael came with me and we watched as the technician searched my body for our baby. She was able to find the sac but there was nothing inside it. I look back now and am so grateful--somehow not seeing anything seems better than seeing something and then having to realize it's gone. They took blood tests just to be sure but Michael and I both knew there was no point.

Words failed me. One month later I can't express the absolute emptiness I felt on that drive home. I wasn't very far along in my pregnancy but the second you find out you're having a baby your life changes. You plan for that baby. You dream for that baby. You yearn for that baby. In the three weeks we knew, I grew attached to someone I would never meet. And that someone I will never forget.

I know how common miscarriages are. From the very beginning I had a cautious feeling about this pregnancy, which both of my parents noticed immediately. I never knew if it was because I'd had a rough year and was trying to protect myself, or if this was something bigger, preparing me for the news I'd soon hear.

One thing they don't really mention about miscarriages is you still have the ridiculous hormones after you find out the news. I cried, often spontaneously, for an entire week. I would be fine one moment and then inconsolable the next. Michael was wonderful. He never once tried to fix things, he just held me while I cried.

We'd told very few people about our pregnancy, and we were the same way with the miscarriage. It's not that we were embarrassed or ashamed, but it was a fiercely private matter and we had all intentions to keep it that way while we grieved.

August 7 was our baby's due date. I'm writing this in January with no intention to post until August. I have no idea where we'll be in 7 months. Will we be pregnant again? Will we have lost again? The only thing I know is that we will experience whatever joy or loss together, as we did with this. I know God has something amazing in store for us, and whether that be a baby now, 5 years from now, or perhaps never, I know that he is good, and he is sovereign. And I will thank him every day for the gifts he has given us, which are far too many to count.

While writing that post I remember thinking, "We will absolutely be pregnant again by August 7." And you know what? I was right. Within a few months after letting my body recover, I was pregnant again. Fortunately, Michael wasn't sick this time so after I told him the news we danced around the house. We knew we'd be seeing my parents the last week of May and decided we'd wait to share the news with both families. When I was 6 weeks pregnant, we went to Charleston for one of my good friend's weddings. I pretended to drink champagne and beer, made excuses for why I chose soup over steak (food completely disgusted me), and somehow made it through the weekend without sharing the news with my best friends.

5 weeks, 5 days (Written the day before we left for Charleston)

Today was one of the best days of my life. I called the doctor this morning with a small concern and she told me I needed to come in this afternoon for a sonogram. I was very anxious and sent Michael multiple emails with all sorts of terrible possibilities. My appointment was at 3p and when I walked into the room I broke into a cold sweat. This was the room where I was told I had a large cyst on my ovary. The room where a month later I learned the cyst had not shrunk and would have to be surgically removed. The room where I found out I'd suffered a miscarriage. The technician smiled politely and told me she was going to look at my ovaries first. After what seemed like forever, I quietly said, "Will you let me know if you see the baby?" She smiled and said, "I haven't gotten there yet, but yes, I'll let you know." Once she made a few notes she said, "Ok, I'm going to look for the baby but you're very early so if I can't find anything that doesn't mean...." Before she could finish her sentence we both froze as it lit up the screen. I looked at the technician and asked, "Is that my baby?" She laughed and said, "Yes and would you look at that strong heartbeat! What a little peanut!"

I found out later that the earliest my doctor’s office has ever seen a heartbeat is 5 weeks 5 days. If I'd come in yesterday I wouldn't have seen the tiny flicker that absolutely took my breath away.

I always thought I would cry. But I didn't. Instead, I sat in complete awe. This precious life with his or her 100-beats-per-minute heart was inside of me, and I was absolutely speechless.

After that appointment, we called our baby "Peanut." At that same appointment the doctor told me I had a small blood clot in my uterus but that many women had successful pregnancies with the same issue. She told me to lay low and to avoid strenuous exercise. I did and things seemed to be going well.

At 9 weeks I noticed more spotting. We were set to leave for Greenville, SC two days later but I had to see the doctor right then. They were able to get me in that morning and I'd already prepared myself for the worst. My pregnancy symptoms had diminished dramatically and I just didn't feel pregnant. Once the picture was up, we saw our baby. It didn't look like it did at our 5.5 week or 7 week appointment. We couldn't see any blinking, which signifies the heartbeat. The technician said nothing and then sighed as she told us our baby had died at 7.5 weeks. Devastated. We were both devastated. Michael held my hand and all I could do was tell him I was sorry. Over and over again. It was clear this was my fault, and nothing he or the doctor said would ever change my mind.

The next day we got on a plane and flew to South Carolina. I'd told the doctor I wanted to have the miscarriage naturally--I did not want to have a D&C. She said she'd give me through the weekend and if nothing happened she would perform the D&C the following week. I was "lucky" and had the miscarriage on Saturday afternoon in a foreign hotel room while Michael was away with the groom and groomsmen. I have never experienced pain that deep and I'm still not sure what hurt worse, the pain or my heart. I knew when it was finally over and I laid in bed and cried. After that, I had 30 minutes to put on a smile and get ready for the wedding.

Looking back, I am so grateful it happened in South Carolina. It was terrible, but I am glad I will never be in that bathroom in that hotel again. It was best to leave it behind.

A few weeks later I met with the doctor again and she discussed running several blood tests to see if there was a connection between my miscarriages. The first time she ran 12 tests and all came back normal. Two weeks ago she checked my chromosomes. She called me this week and said I had a heterozygous mutation on the MTHFR gene. Don't worry, when I saw it I thought it looked like a bad word too. She explained to me that the gene mutation can cause a lack of folic acid (something that is crucial during pregnancy) as well as blood clots, which I'd had with my second pregnancy. She was very positive--told me I would simply take folic acid supplements and blood thinners when I was pregnant again. I nonchalantly said, "folic acid and aspirin--no big deal." She paused and then said, "No, I'm afraid aspirin isn't strong enough. The blood thinner will be an injection--a shot you give yourself every day you're pregnant."

For those of you who know me or have read my blog for awhile, shots (needles) are my biggest fear. I loathe them. And now I'm told for me to have a chance at a successful pregnancy, I will need to give myself a shot every day for 9 months.

Apparently this mutation is somewhat common and many have it without having any pregnancy issues. However, since I've had two miscarriages, she is pretty confident it is the reason why. With the help of folic acid supplements and blood thinners, she believes we will be able to have a baby. (This article explains my condition better than I ever could.)

So that brings you to today. You now know as much as us. Hitting "publish post" might be one of the hardest things I have ever done. This is a huge step for me, however, I truly believe it's a step I need to take in order to move forward. Unless I feel the need, I do not plan on posting about this again. We still have a long road ahead of us before we start "trying" (ugh--hate that phrase), and the first person who asks how that is going will get a punch in the throat. No, I'm kidding, but it really isn't something I care to talk about. If you have questions about miscarriages or MTHFR, please ask. My hope is that this post might help someone besides myself--I know several miscarriage posts helped me.

What I've learned through all of this? It's ok to be mad. It's ok to crawl in bed and cry your eyes out because you hear someone is pregnant and you are not. It's ok for your heart to break when a healthy pregnant woman complains to you about how fat she feels. And it's ok to let your husband hold you up when you are so physically and emotionally tired that you just.... can't. I have yelled at God so many times and you know what? That's ok too. I know there is a reason for this and I know that he has given me far more than I ever deserve. All I have to do is look at my husband and I know I'm still the luckiest girl in the world. And one day, I hope we will be the luckiest parents. But if that day never comes, I will still thank God for every breath and blessing I've been given.


Melissa said...

oh meredith what an amazing post. i feel like i felt every high and low with you all the way through it. my 2 very best friends here have had similar experiences and i've seen how painful and low of times those can be. I won't ask how the trying is going :) but i will pray for you guys through all of this - count on it. thanks for sharing...seriously.

Laura said...

I'm so incredibly sorry about your losses, and the pain you have and are experiencing. I wish I could do something to make it all better right this second! Too bad cupcakes don't solve all problems. Thank you for sharing your story-like you said, miscarriages are sadly so common, but I'm sure that doesn't in any way make them easier to experience. I'm praying for you and Michael!

emily said...

Meredith, incredible post! Thanks for sharing, even though I can't imagine how tough it was to write & post. You guys will be in my prayers!

Kaitlin said...

I love you, Mere :) I know this was hard to write and put out there, but I'm sure your candidness will give others hope & a sense that they are not alone. We are forever praying for you guys & are extremely hopeful that God will bless you with beautiful little Haynes babies :)

Aubrey said...

Oh, Meredith, I'm so so sorry. You are so brave to share. Sending love and prayers to you and Michael.

Cari said...

Oh Mere...I'm so very sorry to hear this. You're definitely brave to share all of this, and I really hope it helped a bit in getting what must be a tremendous weight off your shoulders. Book that trip to France you've been dreaming of - you and Michael are a fantastic couple, and you deserve happiness after all this. The road heals a lot. Sending you tons of good thoughts.

Jamie and Ryan said...

Sending lots of prayers for you Mere! Thanks for sharing your story.

Jennifer said...

I am so glad you shared and I know how hard it is to send it out there. I remember writing a post about infertility and having someone comment and tell me that they had a miscarriage while trying to conceive. She said in her comment that although it was different then what I was going through she thought any problems while trying to start your family are devestating. I couldn't agree more. I haven't experieinced what you have and I don't know what you are going through but I do know that I think you are amazing. It takes courage to share this with the world. I also know from experience that when you have to fight for your baby, when it doesn't just happen, well it will make you a very differant mother. I'm not saying a better mother but a differant one. I'm sending lots and lots of good thoughts your way. I'm always here to talk too. Thanks for sharing.

Mrs. A said...

Oh my I have no words...this post has me completely in tears. I think you are an incredibly brave person and I believe God has big plans for your family. I am adding you to my prayer list my friend and I can't wait to see how God works in your life.

Erin said...

Thank you for sharing. What a incredibly difficult experience, you and Michael will be in our prayers. I have several friends that have had miscarriages the last few months and it is just heart breaking! Sending our love and hugs to you guys!

Ashley said...

Oh Meredith, I can't express to you how sorry I am to hear this. Hearing all that you have been through has me in tears for you and Michael. I will keep you both in my prayers. You are wonderful, genuine, loving people and I just know that you will be amazing parents one day. xoxo

Candace said...

what an amazing, raw story. my heart breaks for you and michael. your strength, as proof in just writing this post, is amazing. thank you for being brave and sharing your story. i will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers as you navigate this journey. xoxo

Trish said...

Oh Meredith. As I told you--this hurts my heart. I also believe that you have a lot in store for you and hopefully this is just a little blip in the road (in hindsight--I know right now it's a huge blip). You've written about this so eloquently and I admire your strength and clarity, even though at times it probably feels like you have neither.

I'm not a good one to talk because I rarely discuss my miscarriage but I wish that more women did because it is helpful to know that you aren't the ONLY one going through the pain and failure and constant blame. And everyone's situation is unique and my heart breaks that you've gone through this twice now but I can assure you that one day all of the pain will wash away. It doesn't take away the fact that you've lost two before, but when little baby is ready for you he'll come and you'll hold him and all will be right in the world.

I know it couldn't have been easy for you, but I'm grateful to you for writing this post. You're in my thoughts often and will continue to be...

Jax said...

Meredith- I am so very sorry, Meredith. Words seem devoid of nearly enough emotion to express what I want to say... I admire your strength and could not even begin to imagine the weight of all of of this on you in the past year. Thank you for this very brave, raw, emotional, well-written post. You're an incredible person. You and Michael are in my thoughts and prayers and will continue to be... Sending hugs and love from Tulsa...

Leslie said...

Love you, friend, and so proud of you for sharing this journey, both for your own sake and for all the women who will be comforted and encouraged to know that they are not alone. Praying for a beautiful, happy ending to this story.

Haley Nicodemus said...

I'm praying for your sweet family through this journey! You are so brave to put it all out there and I think you are going to help others that are going through similar struggles. Hugs for you guys!!

Jacqueline and Travis Tapella said...

Meredith- words cannot express the sad emotions in my heart for you. Thank you for sharing this story, like many others have said, it is so well written and so brave of you. I know we don't see each other often, I wish we did...but I think that you and Michael are amazing people and I wish only the very best for both of you and your future family together. I have already started my prayers for you both...looking forward to hearing great news :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I just had my first miscarriage two weeks ago, and I'm still having a tough time. Thank you for sharing. I feel like no one ever mentions this, and I'm glad to hear an account of it happening to someone else.

Thank you.


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