Every Feeling

When I met with the chaplain at the hospital in Anchorage, he gave me a soft lavender folder full of resources for women who have lost pregnancies and babies.  I didn't open the packet until a few days after I was home.  But when I did, I was glad that I had.  There was a pamphlet inside that said every feeling was an acceptable feeling to have after a miscarriage.

That little sentence has made the last week a lot easier.  If I feel happy, I let myself feel happy. If I feel sad, I let myself feel sad. It sounds simple, but it was hard at first.

I keep thinking that I am pregnant. I went to eat tuna for the second day in a row, and had to remind myself that I could, because I'm not pregnant anymore.  I had a sore neck the other day and as I reached for the Tylenol, I reminded myself that I could take ibuprofen, since I'm not pregnant anymore.  Some of my life is easier now that I'm not pregnant. Feeling that way makes me feel guilty.  But it's a simple fact. Being pregnant is a lot of work.

In addition to some relief, I have also found myself extraordinarily sad for the boys.  I feel awful that I am not going to give them that baby they want so badly.  You should see them ogle over Daniel Tiger's baby sister Margaret.  They talk about her all.the.time.

I have also been angry.  Angry that I had to go through that alone.  Angry that other people who are less careful have pregnancies that are sustained.  Angry that when I went in for my D&C they asked me if it was an abortion or a loss.  Isn't there somewhere in the paperwork they could jot that down?

I've been embarrassed-- that I was excited; that i didn't see this coming; that I actually thought the pregnancy would produce a baby, another child for us, as easily as the first pregnancies did.  Embarrassed that I thought miscarriages happened to other people, not to me.

I have been terrified by the thought of trying again.  Scared out of my mind imagining facing this heartache twice, and wondering how in the world women do it.  I have been equally terrified, however, by the thought of not trying. Terrified that fear will win.

I have been overwhelmed.  The smallest tasks, paying a bill, making a phone call, cooking my family dinner, seems akin to climbing Mt. Everest.  When Josh gets home I tell him all I've gotten done each day, and its embarrassingly little.  Thankfully he doesn't mind.  But I do.

I have been irritated.  Problems other people are facing, or things other people are doing can seem to me (in my hormone impacted state) to be of less importance than what I'm facing (or have faced).

I have audibly gasped when I open my t-shirt drawer faced with brand new maternity shirts that I no longer need, or opened my spice cupboard faced with prenatal vitamins my body no longer requires, or go to put on my make up and see the pregnancy test that I smiled at every morning as I spread foundation on my glowing face.  I now get ready for the day in yoga pants, my budding baby belly now a burlap sack that hangs lazily over my pants, no life within.  My face, once glowing and clear is now pale & acne covered.  The stress & sadness obviously visible.

And strangely alongside all these emotions, I have been grateful.  Grateful for the support I've received.  Grateful for the stories (and pain) shared by those who've been through it.  Grateful for Josh's love and neverending ability to listen & actually hear me.  But most of all, I've been grateful for the boys I have.  Grateful that for some reason I didn't lose the twins. Or Wyatt. Grateful that they were born healthy and that I get to wake up to them every morning and put them to bed every night.  

At the end of each day I find myself exhausted because, well, because of all the feels.  But it's a good kind of exhausted.  As every emotion bubbles to the surface, I say hello... sometimes I hug it... and then I let it go.  It's not ideal. Sometimes it's hard. But it works.

I listened to Dierks Bentley's song Riser today, and it brought me to tears.

Lay your pretty head down on my shoulder
You don't have to worry anymore
This old world is cold and getting colder
And I know how to lock and bolt the door.

I'm strong enough to hold you through the winter
Mean enough to stare your demons down
The hard times put the shine into the diamond
I won't let that keep us in the ground.


Here's hoping these hard times produce some diamonds.


Kristina said...

Oh sweet girl...there will be diamonds! There will be diamonds! Your honesty blows me away and I am praying for you!!!

Kasey said...

I've been reading all week and my heart breaking for you. Only now have I made it to my computer to comment. I've been praying for you.

liz c said...

Yes, yes, yes. I understand all of this. You are amazing, keep plugging on.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you are right. Let yourself feel every feeling you feel.

Ashley said...

Oh Shelly, I just caught up on all of your blog posts. My heart is breaking for you. Know that you and your family are in my prayers.

Jessica said...

I totally know those feelings. I had two miscarriages and all of those little reminders are devastating. My heart goes out to you right now!

Anonymous said...

Dear Shelly, My thoughts and prayers are with you more so now than normal. Losing a baby is one of the worst things a woman can go through. It is surprising that we can survive the pain and heartbreak but somehow our broken hearts keep beating. I thank Heaven that you have your beautiful, sweet, amazing boys to love and cuddle and keep your days full while your heart and body heal. You are so blessed to have a supportive husband.

There is a very well written book called "Empty Cradle, Broken Heart" that I would be happy to send if you are interested. Email me at MoiraMia@AOL.com.

Hang in there. Hearts are amazing things. They expand so easily to accommodate more joy and love than you would think they could hold. Somehow they survive the most devastating losses. The pain doesn't go away but it gets scooted back in your heart so you will feel joy and happiness again. Our lost babies live in our hearts and are part of who we are forever.