When I think about this time last year I keep imagining Chris and I on a rickety old wooden rollercoaster balancing at the very top. And then all of the sudden just as we’re starting to take in the sights from the top, a gust of wind comes up and sends us free falling– almost crashing it feels like to the bottom. And each time we think we’ve finally plateaued and the ride is almost over, the rickety old cart takes another turn downward into a darker tunnel we didn’t see coming.
I’m a visual thinker, have I mentioned this before? My mind likes to try to make sense of things I can’t understand by creating visuals I can understand- kind of.
It was last year on this very week when we went to what we thought was our 12 week genetic test; we discussed strollers on the way there, bickered about the garage parking once we got there (it was so pricey!) And then chatted as we sat in the waiting room about our Tahoe trip in the upcoming weeks (it was our plan to announce on this trip, I ordered cute “mom” and “dad” hats for the occasion.)
The tech called us back into a special room, I made a joke about whether or not I’d have to insert the wand myself, she laughed awkwardly and said no, and then she put the jelly on my belly and we both waited to see what came next.
What came next is the reason I’m writing this today. Perhaps it’s the reason we’re in Denver now rather than Chicago. The reason we rethought our future, our jobs, our plans, life in general. What came next was our little glimpse into mortality and how quickly things can change when you hear the words, “there’s no longer a heartbeat.“
Poof goes the wind and down we go.
The following day on our third wedding anniversary I had my first D&C. It was the next week when I got the call that there was a dark spot on my uterus and it was determined I had a partial molar pregnancy. I’d have to get weekly blood draws for the foreseeable future to make sure I didn’t have cancer growing in the place where I once had a baby growing. Weekly fucking reminders of what was, but no longer would be.
And down down down we went.
“You’ll be pregnant again in no time!” Well-meaning people said. “I’ve heard women are very fertile after a miscarriage!” Even more well-meaning people chimed in. “It just wasn’t meant to be,” a few morons added.
Actually no, I wanted to respond bitterly, we won’t be trying again anytime soon at all. There would be no trying again for at least half a year, in fact. And that was best case scenario. For now, for now I was stuck in a room trying all of the doors to get out but not a single one would open.
If there was a blog post written about molar pregnancies, I read it. I scoured articles and medical journals and anything I could find trying so hard to understand how I could go from being pregnant to on cancer watch. And in the meantime, where in the hell were those stupid mom and dad hats? They were supposed to be delivered any day now and for some reason that delivery terrified me. I could not stand the thought of opening that package and having those hats taunt me with their optimism. I’d already stuffed away the other baby items we bought, I even donated the shirt I wore to the genetics appointment because I knew I’d never want to see it again, the last thing to take care of were those dumb hats.
When our Tahoe trip rolled around neither of us wanted to go anymore. I was basically wearing diapers thanks to the D&C, we were both pretty glum, work was busy for Chris, and I just wanted to lay on the couch all day. But in the end we decided to go. It would be “a nice getaway.” And it was, kind of. Unfortunately when you’re sad and uncomfortable that follows you everywhere, even to Tahoe.
I get messages from women almost every week who have just gone through a miscarriage. I imagine they message me, like how I researched blogs and articles and even googled “why does my mind keep replaying something I don’t want it to replay,” because they just want to know how to feel better. I don’t claim to know the answer, but I will say I don’t typically recommend a trip. What I do recommend is just sitting with it. For me that usually meant at the dog park, usually on a hot afternoon, with dark sunglasses on as tears rolled down my face. Sometimes I understood the sadness and sometimes I didn’t. I stopped questioning it because it felt so beyond my control at times and I know that’s because it was. You’ve got all of these hormones and thoughts and worries and who knows what else surging through you while you’re pregnant and what happens to all of that when you miscarry? Is it supposed to just go away? If it is, mine sure didn’t.
It stayed with me. Of course it had its moments when it gave me a much needed break and hid away for a bit. But then I’d walk by a bagel shop and remember how once at 10 weeks I was so sick I could barely walk the five blocks to get a bagel but damn it I wanted that bagel so Har and I made the brutal walk and just like that all of the feelings were back. Remember us? They’d say. We’re all around this neighborhood and in the clothes in your closet and even in the snacks in your pantry. Eventually I just started acknowledging them and saying, yes I do, now how can I help you? And that helped take their power away and make me feel a little less crazy. Sometimes, anyway.
I sat down to write this with no idea of where it was going, I just woke up knowing that I needed to get it out. I also need to get back to my rollercoaster metaphor where we start to inch our way out of the dark tunnel and see that inkling of light on the other end, because I know you’re all anxiously awaiting that moment. I promise you we get there (mostly with the help of people like Oprah, Eckhart Tolle, and Lizzo, to name a few.) But not only do we get there, we even start to see the importance, and dare I say feel a little gratitude, toward those darker moments as we realize the purpose they served.
But for now I have to get some Monday work done. New Bebe On The Way sweatshirts just hit my site 🙂 and we’re going on another mountain road trip in a few days to celebrate our anniversary. I have a feeling this year will be better than last. So much can change in a year…so so much.
And the mom and dad hats never showed up. They got lost in the mail, or someone intercepted them, I truly have no idea and I really don’t care. They weren’t meant for us last summer, but I think I’ll order a couple more for November.