Our Miscarriage Story

1/29/19

Today is my birthday. Upon receiving the many notifications from people in my life sending me happy wishes, I can’t help but be sad.

Sad for all of the birthday wishes that aren’t coming true today.

We are losing a baby tomorrow. Well, they’ve told us she’s already gone.

I am 8 weeks pregnant. Until tomorrow.

All along I secretly knew this wasn’t going to ever be. I just had a deep, uneasy feeling. At first I was apprehensive because we just experienced an early miscarriage last month. Seriously how can I miscarry twice in 2 months? This entire process was so unexpected from the very beginning. So my guard was up at the first sight of all 3 positive tests. But the weeks went on and I got sicker… all of the signs of early pregnancy were there, loud and clear. So we told some close friends, but refrained from telling our kids or doing those exciting early baby things like rubbing the belly. I think we were both scared. As it got closer to our obgyn appointment date, we became more excited and it started to feel more real.

The morning sickness was an its-gotta-be-a-girl all day sickness. After having two girls, I know the hints. With each pregnancy, I’ve had a feeling about the sex. This time I just knew it was a girl. We talked about names… I made baby girl Pinterest boards… you might think we were jumping the gun, but time and symptoms made us believe this was happening for us again.

After waiting about 4 weeks to go to the doctor, the day finally came. Back to the ultrasound room. Get undressed from the waist down, she said. Let’s see your baby, she said. There she was.. teeny tiny. Then the minutes starting passing as the tech searched for a heartbeat. It felt like hours. I could feel the disappointment rise all the way from my stomach to my throat to the burn of swelling tears in my eyes as she said “I’m just not seeing a heartbeat.“ All I could do was lay there. Sit up. Get dressed. Go home. Act like everything was fine. They told us to come back Monday and by then we would know for sure.

There was still hope.

The weekend was so long. My mom said “just keep talking to her.” So I did. In the shower.. in my head. I prayed. After being in such a rotten mood for so long because I felt awful, I naturally felt like this was punishment. That I should be more grateful and appreciative. I promised I would be. If there could just be a little heartbeat on Monday. I’d be a better mom and wife and everything else. I found myself pleading and begging to God… I’ve been on a hormonal roller coaster and struggling with so many feelings lately over everything that we’ve been through in the last several months… How in the world could this be happening too? I told myself the chances of losing another pregnancy this soon after having it happen was impossible. After multiple health issues, losing our longtime family pet, an early miscarriage a month ago, and now this? “Why?” was my only question.

Monday came and as our nerves grew, so did our fears. No heartbeat. Just like that. We had anticipated this moment. We prayed for good news but we couldn’t control what we were being told.

So many thoughts running through my head. A sadness I’ve never felt. Like a hole had just grown in my heart. After delivering 3 healthy babies and experiencing 3 amazing pregnancies, I didn’t understand how my body could do this now. When did her heart stop? Was it something I did? Did I know? Did I feel it? I will never know why.

The grief is like waves. I’m fine then all of a sudden there’s tears. Just trying to find something to wear. Taking a shower. Imagining the unborn little baby in my belly that was just… in there. Not living. Not needing me anymore. I can’t explain that feeling. The waiting and knowing. Feeling completely pregnant but knowing that it’s over. Tomorrow I’ll go to the hospital but I won’t be bringing a sweet baby girl home wrapped in pink.

When this happens you don’t just lose a baby, you lose all of the missed moments that you couldn’t wait to have. First smiles, first steps, getting to see Heidi be a big sister to a sister, seeing Brady boss a little toddler around, first days of school, first honor roll report card, cute little girl bows bigger than her head, watching her face light up as she does something she loves. Just like our other kids all over again one last time.

I know we have 5 beautiful, healthy children. And that people would think we were crazy for wanting another. I was prepared for all of those comments. But it doesn’t make this hurt any less. I had visions of a little red headed girl version of Gene chasing behind Brady. That doesn’t just go away. Brady has been such blessing to us. Gene and I are both much older this time around than we were when our other kids were little so it’s just been completely different, and, overwhelmingingly rewarding. We were looking forward to more of that.

When I went to the hospital to have my pre-op bloodwork done, the nurse taking my blood noticed that it was my birthday and also noticed why I was there. She looked at me with sad eyes and said “it’s not a very good birthday huh?” And then she told me her story. Two miscarriages between her two sons who were now 32 and 38. She said “I know exactly how you feel. For the longest time I couldn‘t look at another baby, or hear one crying. But God has a plan and I had to trust in that. It’s going to be okay.” After she was done taking my blood, she gave me the biggest hug and all I could get out through my tears was “Thank you so much.” Not for drawing my blood, but for sharing her story with me.

We walk by women every day who have gone through this. Many women you know and talk to on a regular basis who have silently mourned the same kind of loss.

I’m not writing this to put our business out there… but I feel like if I don’t write about it… maybe eventually talk about it… then this sweet baby we lost never happened. As if she was a big secret that we will never bring up. And I know there are so many of you who have been through this and have silently grieved about it. I want to let the next woman know and the previous women know that I feel you. I know what you’re going through and you’re not alone.

I know in a few short days I will be expected to get back to “normal” …go to work, take care of the kids, teach my cheer class, run a business. The problem is I. Don’t. Know. How. How do you just pick up and carry on when you’re so sad?

It may or may not happen for us again. We have been blessed with Brady and the rest of our clan. And I know things will get back to normal. We will move on.. but we will never forget.

2/3/19

As I sit here and watch Titanic.. I can’t help but feel like I too am drowning. I go back to work tomorrow. I’m trying to prepare myself to be able to come up with answers to the questions I know I will receive tomorrow. I know people mean well… and they are just trying to be kind.. I know people have prayed for us.. people have sent their well wishes… but they dont understand that I don’t know how to answer them.

The truth is I don’t know how to smile and say Hi. I don’t know how to laugh at my co-worker’s joke. I don’t know how to act like I’m fine.

When I’m not fine.

Brady looked at me tonight at bedtime and said “Mommy I hope you will feel good.”

They know when something is wrong. our children know when things aren’t right. He may be 4, but he knows.

I’m sad. I’m angry. I’m disappointed.

All I can tell you is that I’m going to look forward to this: Im going to play with Brady, do Heidi’s hair, watch Maddy and Cole go to the Winter Formal Dance, and plan vacations… I’m going to breathe fresh air, look at the stars.. and pray.

Pray for happiness and a simple life that feels complete.

2/13/19

2 weeks since surgery. Things are starting to feel “normal” again. Life is once again regimented. There’s a routine again. Wake up, throw my hair back, drive to school, get through the day, hurry home, cook dinner, wash dishes, wash clothes, clean… stay busy.

I had to convince myself that it was better to do things. To be around people. To work. To be ”us.” All of the things I was fighting because I was sad.

One of the hardest parts of this entire unfortunate event in our lives is that I felt like I am expected to just move on and be okay. I felt that multiple people in my life said things or insinuated that ”it’s going to be alright” so “I just needed to move on,” that “I can’t stay sad forever.” Not because they intend to be insensitive but because they care and don’t know what to do with me.

I think that one reason why it’s difficult to move on for anyone who’s lost a baby is because of the guilt. You feel so guilty every time you smile, laugh, or enjoy something. That guilt makes you feel like the little life that you lost was meaningless or that you shouldn’t feel good about anything because it would be wrong. Wrong because it was YOUR body that failed them. You just can’t help but feel that it was your fault.

You feel helpless when this happens to you.

I am reminded of this every day. When I go to the bathroom. When I see a baby. When I see the adorable little girl with pig tails in Brady’s preschool class. When I see a commercial for diapers. I am constantly reminded that my heart has been broken.

I don’t know when it gets better. I can’t tell anyone who has been through this or is going through this that “it was meant to be” or “it’ll happen if it’s supposed to.” All I can say is that time and love will help heal. There are still going to be moments when all of those emotions come rushing back out of nowhere and take your breath away.

It feels extremely surreal and out of place to realize that the ideas in your head for two months about the future are now gone. For someone who likes to be in control, it is scary and difficult to deal with something so out of your control.

Brady just crawled in bed beside me and said “I love you Mommy” and reminded me to be strong. Heidi leaves random sticky notes on my desk during the day that say “I love you Mommy.” I am loved and I am lucky. Even the toughest of us go through things that change us. I have to remind myself of all of the things that I have gone through to get me to this place. And how I have overcome them all. A LOT of things in my life have gone wrong, or not as planned. But then I remember how much has gone RIGHT. It’s not vanity but empowering to once again believe in yourself.

For the mamas who never got to hold their babies, I understand why miscarriage isn’t often discussed… why your stories haven’t been told… because you physically cannot… it’s too painful.

The experience of a miscarriage is so sensitive and intimate because it involves all of you.

The depth of your sorrow is one no one can understand until it happens to them.

Find something that gives you strength. For me I find strength, relief, and peace in writing.

It’s the knowledge that my story can help heal someone else’s.

2/14/19

Valentine’s Day. This week has been so much better. I have felt better. Gene sent me flowers today. He never disappoints.

Things have actually been going ok…. I’ve been laughing, working, smiling.. and hey, I can even drink wine again. Everything was almost back to normal..

Until this afternoon when I had to relive this entire experience over again. Without getting too personal and without going on and on forever, out of nowhere, I had massive bleeding. When I say out of nowhere I mean I was standing in my classroom when I realized something wasn’t right. I went to the bathroom before somehow making it to the phone to call my mama. My mom rushed me to my doctor where they did an ultrasound and admitted me to the hospital immediately.

I have a large blood clot in my uterus.

I feel like we have taken two steps forward and a million steps back.

I am telling you that I feel like my body is so far from normal. And so competely tired.

I knew there wouldn’t be a “right” time to share my story… but I knew I would know when to. I have been nervous about sharing just because stories of pregnancy loss are often hard to hear and it’s natural that people begin to judge and compare. That is terrifying in itself. I am always so self-conscious about how I will make other people feel when they read my writing. But I recently read another blog post that said you shouldn’t be afraid to share your story because your grief is just as deserving as anyone else’s. I had planned on sharing today. I just didn’t think I was going to have all of this to add to it.

Gene and I are spending Valentine’s night in a hospital room. Although I’m tired and worried… I know I am loved. So many of you have showed that today.

It takes a village. Mine is pretty great.

If you’re going through this or you are struggling with your own story, lean on your village. Remind yourself that you are strong. You are capable. You can do this.

To be continued.. because our stories always are.

“A person’s a person. No matter how small.”

-Dr. Seuss

When You Don’t Know You’re Withering Away

The photos below were taken in what feels like a lifetime apart. The first photo, me.. 24 years old… just gave birth to my second child… in a deteriorating marriage… consumed in my own guilt that I was worthless. The last photo, me now… happily re-married with three kids and two stepchildren (one not pictured) later.

The pictures each tell a story. I may weigh more now than I ever have in my life… but I’m healthy.. and content. Throughout my entire life, I have been “a little girl”… “skinny.” Yes, I have thin genes in my family.. if you’ve seen my pretty mama you know I’m a lucky gal. But my weight loss was not always thanks to genetics.

The truth is toxic relationships cause so much more than just a bad day. When you’re in a bad situation, you not only have bad days but they turn into bad weeks.. Then bad months and so on. It didn’t only affect my weight and health but my memory. I’ve never told anyone this BUT… these were the days when my daughters were tiny… and I hardly remember any of it. That makes me sadder than anything else.

When you’re in an abusive relationship… whether it‘s physically or emotionally abusive.. it affects you more than you begin to realize.

I totally thought I looked fine! Look at me! I was anorexic… I hardly ever ate.. how in the world did I breastfeed my girls?! Toxic relationships take a toll on you… on your mind and your body. I was unhealthy. And I didn’t even know it. I had started smoking again. I had lost so much weight. I was literally withering away. I didn’t feel good. Ever. I was convinced that my health, my well-being wasn’t important. I was tired.

Isn‘t it funny how time passes you by and you look back and think to yourself “Oh my.. how in the world did I ever get through that?!” But I did.

If you are thinking to yourself that this sounds anything like you.. that you are in a similar situation that I once experienced.. or maybe it’s not your marriage that’s toxic but you have other toxic relationships that are affecting your self-worth…. which totally could be family or friends! If any of that speaks to you… reach out, ask for help.. you don’t have to fight the battle alone.

Every situation is different And I’m not saying people can’t change for the better. For me, I had to realize that it wasn’t my fault. There’s so much strength in finally accepting that and letting go of the guilt… and it won’t happen until you can see it with a clear mind.

I know it’s hard. It literally feels impossible to make a change. I know because I’ve been that girl. That girl who feels like there is no such thing as a choice… that no matter what decision is made, everyone gets hurt.. that girl who looks in the mirror and thinks to herself that she’s incapable of being loved and incapable of being enough. For everyone else.

Your worth is everything that you think of yourself and you cannot let anyone else decrease your value. That’s the moment that you have to walk away. When you realize that you are strong. That you are more than the situation.

I know my worth because I’ve paid dearly for every ounce of it. You don’t have to keep paying for yours. You are amazing and beautiful and deserve to feel good. Stop letting people control your mind and your feelings. It took years for me to realize that I was being controlled.. not only my behavior but my feelings. When people start controlling how you should feel… it’s time to walk away. It’s ok to leave people behind.

You should not have to beg for the acknowledgment that you’re enough.

You’ve got this.

domestic abuse hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE

for my friends in VA… The James House is a shelter for domestic violence victims.

Xoxo,

MK

When People Disappoint You

Over the last few months, I have realized how naïve I was… that my expectations for other people were too high. I think this subject is somewhat of a taboo subject.. because people rarely discuss this, unless they are doing it in vain, gossiping about being wronged or someone else being wronged. How often do people, in general, disappoint us? In friendship, in your job, or in other relationships? How often do we brush things off that really do bother us but we refrain from saying anything?

I know I have and I do that way more than I should. And this is something that is really on my heart lately.

I have to constantly remind myself… not everyone has the same heart as I do. Being a good person does not guarantee that others will be good people. The reality of discovering that people were not who you thought they were is when you start seeing people… or sometimes seeing through people. And when you start seeing yourself.

When you start seeing your worth, you will find it harder to stay around people who don’t.

Is it possible to be too nice? I always try to “friend” people because I believe they are kind, good-hearted, and want to be my friend back. Or in my career, I find myself consistently smiling and being kind to everyone, even during and after times of conflict. I didn’t realize that I have been giving so much of myself and my time worrying about these people…. mostly about pleasing them. There comes a time when you start to realize that you cannot control other people. Some people are so miserable with themselves that they cannot help but to try to bring you down too. You have to realize that their misery is self-inflicted and out of your control….as are their actions and opinions.

You have three choices. You can choose to accept people, choose to distance yourself, or choose to walk away. But you do not always have to please others.

If PEOPLE… whether in your job or friendships… are constantly disappointing you, cut them out… Time goes on… life goes on… You’re going to be ok. You cannot be your best self when someone else is in control of how you feel. No matter how hard you try.

Being disappointed by people who you respect… can make you really bitter. Don’t let it have that control over you. If it’s not my husband, kids, family, or the people who I have chosen to be in my very small circle, then I am choosing to give it a very small amount of me. I will be kind to these people. I will understand that I am human and have my own flaws… but I can always be kind. I will see them, speak to them, and even answer their texts. I will not allow what doesn’t matter to take any more of me. Jobs, friends, people who don’t matter.

Be mindful of how you treat people. Be mindful of your intentions and the outcomes of your words and actions. No one owes you anything. The only expectations you set high are the expectations you have for yourself.

I was watching the movie The Help the other day. If you’ve ever seen that movie… you know that there is a woman named Ms. Hilly who isn’t very kind… not even to the people she calls friends. As you know, the maid, Ms. Minnie, made a pie with a certain special ingredient and watched Ms. Hilly eat it and then said the words, “Eat my sh*t.”

The next time you find yourself dealing with people who disappoint you, talk about you behind your back, or just try to bring you down… think about what they would do if you made them a special pie.. at least it will give you a little laugh! People like that might not ever eat your special pie but they will eventually reap what they sow.

Xoxo,

MK

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Get Yourself Together

When things aren’t going your way and you feel like giving up… how do you manage to get it together? Because we always do right? Somehow we always get it together and life goes on. When we think we’re too tired to get dressed or cook dinner or run in the grocery store… or when things get even worse and we don’t even want to get out of bed… we always do.

Think about this: Perspective. Your perspective is shaped by your experiences… the environment you live in, and the people who surround you, the things you’ve witnessed. When you choose your own perspective, you are choosing your attitude and behavior. You are also choosing how others perceive you.

I’ve been struggling lately with choosing the right attitude. “My people” see me as strong and full of energy. At our recent Patti Presson Fitness Intentional You meeting, we played a get to know you game. We went around the room – a room full of complete strangers – and everyone wrote one word (without you knowing the word they were writing) that they could use to describe you in the short 20 minutes they had been around you. When we were done we looked at our words that complete strangers had used to describe us. Mine read “hardworking, organized, determined, cute, hardworking again, and feisty.” It’s funny really… if I look back on my past I can think about things that have shaped me to be all of these words.

That got me thinking. People are always telling me “I don’t know how you do it.” And honestly I don’t either. Thinking about the words that were written about me reminded me that I must be doing something right because I have everyone fooled!

The truth is I’m not superwoman. I have mom guilt, complete breakdowns, cry and curse, and some days feel like I’m barely making it…. just. like. you.

When I think about what lifts me back up… what makes me feel “ok” again… it’s my people. It’s taking time to actually be with my kids, it’s the lunch talks with my favorite co-workers, it’s the end of the day showers I take with Gene every night because that’s when we finally have a moment to talk, it’s the friends I have that I know I can run to and spill my guts and bitch about everything just for them to tell me something to make me feel better even if it’s just their honesty, it’s joking around with my sister at my parents’ house… it’s being around the people I care about and who I know care about me.

We can define happy in so many ways. I’m so grateful, thankful, and honored to live the life I live. I’ve seen people who have really struggled. The couple who has just buried their baby or the young girl who has 6 kids in Head Start and her landlord is kicking her out for roaches. I’ve seen people struggle, hurt, and I am 100% sure I’ve witnessed people struggle and hurt right in front of me and I didn’t even know they were going through something.

This is perspective. I might feel like I’m drowning today. But I’m not. I remember those people who taught me to be grateful. I surround myself with the people who care about me even if I just want to crawl in my bed under the covers and sleep.

When YOU are feeling like you can’t go on.. remember the people you’ve met, lean on someone you love, go outside and literally look on the bright side. I’ve got to choose the right attitude every time.. so I can keep fooling everyone? Maybe. Maybe I’m just trying to convince myself I can do it all.

Get yourself together because you always do. And life will go on.

For a Little Bit

We get up, go to work, come home, fix dinner, pack lunchboxes, do homework, bathe kids, get them in bed… all before we can go to bed ourselves. And just when we get to bed, lay down… snuggle under the covers and push the thoughts and reminders running through our minds to the side… we finally drift off to sleep.

Until…. our motherly instincts wake us up when the pitter patter of little feet come running down the hallway to our bedside.

“Mommy…”

“Yes Brady… what’s wrong?”

“I want you.”

Famous words from a toddler.

And as he climbs in bed and wedges his tiny body between us, I say, “I want you too Brady. I always want you.”

Even when it’s 2 AM and I can barely open my eyes. Even when you kick us in the side all night long and I have about 2 cm of space to sleep on the very edge of the bed. I still want you.

I want you now and tomorrow and ten years from now when you’re 13 and don’t care about me anymore. At least on the outside.

I will want you when you hit your first homerun. I will want you when you get your first girlfriend. I will want you when you drive your first truck and when you graduate high school.

I will want you when you find a woman who is worthy of you and you decide to give our family name away to her. I will still want you.

I will always want you to be my baby. And you will always be my baby.

We give this away. We are exhausted, and stressed… we live the day to day without giving any extra thought to the fact that time does not stand still. We pray for bedtime to hurry. We pray for them to fall asleep sooner. And we naturally wish the days away.

But… every now and then… we get a subtle reminder that we don’t always want it to be bedtime… we don’t always want them to be able to walk so we don’t have to tote them anymore… we don’t always want them to be able to eat on their own so they won’t nurse 24/7…. we don’t always want them to sleep in their own bed (especially at 2 AM)…

These reminders… they are the sweet part of life. They snap us back to reality. We then realize for a split second that time doesn’t slow down. Our kids won’t be babies forever. And we hold them tighter… for just a little bit.

-MK