Grief & Rainbows

On year ago today, I opened my heart up to the world when I wrote about my miscarriage. I let myself be vulnerable. It was the hardest, yet best thing I could have done. No one wants to open themselves up to judgement and scrutiny, and the dreaded, “she’s doing it for pity” comments. But the amount of people I have been able to connect with through “The Worst Girl Gang Ever” has helped me on my journey to healing. And although that journey is never done, it helps to have people on your side.

Everyone tells you that grief isn’t linear. And it’s true. It’s not. You’re fine one day, one month, and the next you’re not. Grief doesn’t get smaller as time goes on, we just grow around it.

The grief is always there – sometimes hiding in the background, sometimes at the foreground – and it never goes away. The smallest thing can bring you right back to the moment you realized that you will never be the same again: the scent of a candle you had burning, the pair of leggings you find while cleaning that you had hiding in the back of the closet, or having to go to Walgreens for pads because you can’t use your cup. It could be because of the day or time of year, or for no real reason at all.

Yesterday I felt like I got hit with a ton of bricks. Not only is it October and it is Miscarriage & Infant Loss Awareness Month, but I started my first period postpartum. The cramps and the back pain coupled with the red took me right back to the moment in Dec 2020 where I knew what was happening, but didn’t want to believe it. The physical and emotional pain is one I will never forget. I brought myself back to the present. Remy was on the floor (in his lounger) all cozy after our bedtime bath ritual. He was smiling up at me as I tried to hold in the tears. I left the bathroom, walked out to sit on the couch with Remy and hugged him tight and started crying. It’s impossible to not think about what could have been. I know how truly lucky I am that we have Remy, but my heart will always wonder what if.

At times, it’s hard to find a place in the infertility community. I’ve experienced a miscarriage and been diagnosed with unexplained infertility, yet I now hold a rainbow baby in my arms. I get stuck between “be grateful for a healthy baby” and “my heart hurts for the one we lost.” I know it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Both of these feelings can exist simultaneously. Yet I find myself trying to justify why I shouldn’t “still” be grieving. The last almost 9 weeks of Remy’s life I have been so preoccupied that I hadn’t thought of much of anything else. But as we settle into a routine, my mind is a bit more clear which leaves space for the emotion hurt buried in my mind. Whenever I have to ride that emotional rollercoaster, I try and give myself grace, even though I am really bad at it. One step at a time. I’ve learned to let myself feel what I need to feel and not hold back: cry if I need to cry and laugh if I need to laugh. There isn’t a wrong emotion, but you have to learn to process them.

I’m not the same person I was last October. And I’m even more different than the person from October 2020. And let’s not even start to try and diagnose the girl from October 2019. I hate to admit that this journey has made me a more empathetic person. I almost feel guilty that I didn’t have as much empathy before. I thought I did, but maybe I didn’t. I have learned more about patience. I’ve learned to sit and listen instead of just dishing out unwanted advice.

I’ll always be a work in progress.


For you, our rainbow baby:

I am forever grateful for the privilege of being your Momma. Your smile lights up my entire day. I would never have asked for the pain and grief of infertility and loss. But without it, I would not have you. I love you, Remy.


In remembrance of our Angel Baby:

“Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
You were bigger than the whole sky
You were more than just a short time
And I’ve got a lot to pine about
I’ve got a lot to live without
I’m never gonna meet
What could’ve been, would’ve been
What should’ve been you
What could’ve been, would’ve been you”

-Taylor Swift, Bigger Than The Whole Sky

(Photos from Dec 2020)


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Rainbow After The Storm

1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage.

1 in 8 couples are dealing with infertility.

1 in 3 people experience PTSD after miscarriage/loss.

40-50% suffer from depression and anxiety.

Getting pregnant after loss doesn’t heal you.

Getting pregnant doesn’t replace the baby you lost.

I’ve had so many people reach out to me over the last year and a half. Some some experienced miscarriage 30 years ago, some had a pregnancy after loss and traumatic birth experience also 30 years ago. It’s not something you ever forget. It’s not something you ever get over. I’ve also spoken to numerous people who are currently TTC and dealing with infertility. It’s not talked about enough how much of an emotional roller coaster it is. Going through infertility and fertility treatments is hard. Feeling like you’re in limbo is hard. I will always be here if anyone needs to talk. Getting pregnant doesn’t make any of those feelings go away.

Pregnancy announcements are difficult for those in the TTC community. Please give yourself some grace if you need to take time to process or give yourself space. I love you, and will understand.

But here’s a summary of our fertility journey since October. It’s hard to summarize what we’ve been through since the miscarriage, and then 15 months of an emotion of roller coaster of constant disappointment every month, and then two months of poking and prodding at the fertility center before we had a medicated cycle .

It’s 4 minutes. You’re warned. I always said I would try and post the good, the bad and the ugly.

Thank you so much to our family and friends who have been the most amazing support system I could ever ask for.

#RainbowBaby

We went through the Fertility Center of Illinois, and had Dr Allison Rodgers.

Searching For The Rainbow

I miss her. The girl I used to be last October. The person I was before the sadness would consume most of my days, leaving me to over analyze everything. 

We're still the same person. 
Just.
Different.

She's me. I am her. But along the way, our lives disconnected and plucked out the simpleness and innocence with complexity and experience.  We're layered together, but the bright colors that once sparkled around us slowly faded into black and white. 

She had a lightness about her, and she didn't even realize it. She could dance around in the golden moonlight in her bare feet, blackened from walking down the street without shoes, with a strong drink in one hand and her cell phone in the other. Capturing every smile and every wink she'd send to her future husband. She'd listen to the waves collide against the rocks. 

She could run through the summer rain and feel its warmness bounce off her skin, flushed from the two glasses of her favorite red wine. Gravity wasn't pulling her down quite as hard then. She would twirl around in the kitchen in her red dress listening to the crackle of dinner cooking on the stove and her favorite songs playing in the background, and she didn't think twice about tomorrow.

She could look to the future a lot more hopeful than she does now.  I don't want to tell her that it's hard to imagine anymore. I don't want to tell her that she ended up slipping on the rocks and fell straight into heartache and can't find her way out. That it's sometimes hard to breathe. Her friends and family have never left her, and have been her support system, yet she feels isolated. She feels trapped.  

I don't want her to know just how jaded she's going to feel. Putting her whole heart and soul on the line for just a maybe. How tired she's going to feel. How exhausted she is from faking the smiles. But I need her to know: we're finding a strength we didn't know we had. And I really think we're going to get there. 

One day. 
Somehow. 
We'll get there. 
 
On December 21st, I miscarried at 7 weeks. I feel like a little piece of me left that day. I still logged into work. It was our anniversary. It was the week of Christmas. I didn't know what else to do.  What I do know is that grief isn't linear. It hits you when you least expect it. One day you're fine, and the next you're in bed crying knowing the exact age your baby should be. For as long as I can remember, I have always advocated for awareness around not asking women "when is it your turn?" or "When are you guys going to have a baby." I was always the first to tell people how inappropriate and invasive that question is. I just never would have thought I'd be advocating for myself.  

Michelle Obama said it best: "When we share our stories, we are reminded of the humanity within each other. And when we take the time to understand each other's stories, we become more forgiving, more empathetic, and more inclusive."  I can't pretend like I have it all together. I don't. Most days it's hard to get out of bed. The hard truth is that I stopped drinking because I fell into a very dark place of trying to hide behind the drunkenness to not feel anything. I didn't want to. The pain was too much. I didn't want to face the reality that something I had zero control over happened to me. And there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it. It changed my life.  Just as two pink lines change your life, having the two pink lines fade into one will forever change your life, too. And then month after month after month you hope to see two, yet you only get one. The rug gets ripped out from under you time and time again, but you keep getting back onto the emotional roller coaster. Holding onto that "what if this month is our month" feeling. 

I've built more relationships with people by being open about my struggles than I ever could have pretending like I had it all together. I don't share our story for sympathy. I share because someone is out there struggling. They might feel alone. I need them to know they are not not. I had a very hard time opening up about this, but it's just too much to handle sometimes. 

There's so much more I want to say on this topic, but for now I will just leave you with this: Be kind. Stop asking people what their "next step" is in their lives and start just asking people, "hey how are YOU." Right now. In this current phase of your life. And take the time to listen. Without judgement. Without unsolicited advice. Without trying to one-up them with a statement starting with "well, at least..." 

Just listen. 

-Megan