Thursday, August 25, 2016

The reality of True Love

Has it really been over a year since I last posted? It was one of the busiest years of my life, so you would think I would have a fountain of opinions and stories to share, and I do, but I just didn't make the time to do so. I have a good excuse though... I fell in love... (insert dreamy face, flowers, rainbows and I think unicorns go with this montage.)

For some quick catch up history, 2 and a half years ago I was bored with Utah and wanted something new. So I got a job and an apartment with some awesome roommates and was getting ready to move to Arizona. During that time, my coworkers here, convinced me to go out with one of our clients that I had expressed interest in (his facial hair was incredible, and he loved dogs = total package). The only reason I agreed was because I was moving out of the state, the commitment was minimal. Well, wouldn't you believe it, he was/is the perfect man for me. So, long story short, we dated, fell in love, got engaged, I bridezilla'd for a few months and we got married just a little over 2 months ago. 75 days to be exact (well, sorta, don't fact check me on that, I estimated). Jon is the love of my life, I couldn't have imagined a better man for me.

Now, to bring in some of the heavy stuff. Like I mentioned above, we dated for 2 years, which may be a short time to some people, and for others feel like an eternity, but for me it was the perfect amount of time. We experienced a lot of relationship issues both good/bad and grew together, that helped us prepare toward a marriage. But some things you can't prepare for, no matter how long you date, how much you talk about the future, or how much you plan. I'm talking about miscarriage.

I know what you are thinking, 'What the?! You just got married!" And I'm like, "I know, right?!"

But seriously. A couple weeks ago I had a miscarriage. Now if you do the math, I wasn't very far along. And that's been one of the hardest things to wrap my head around. People ask how far along you were as if the difference from 7 weeks to 37 weeks makes a difference in the feeling of loss. I get it, I didn't have a nursery set up, or clothes bought, or an empty car seat, by any means. But it was still a loss. A loss of a what-might-have-been, a hope, and future that I wasn't expecting and actually was looking forward to having, despite what I had always told myself.

Jon is 40 years old and I am 30 years old, and we are not getting any younger (which is the weirdest saying, because its not like people actually ever get younger, but oh well I'm not deleting it.) I have also been dealing with PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome) for about the last 5-6 years. So our odds for having children are a lot slimmer than the youngin's gettin' busy for a family at age 20. Honestly, I didn't think I would even be able to get pregnant. My doctor counseled me about how most women with PCOS struggle with infertility for years, some never being able to conceive. Many people told me to "try for a year and then pursue other options after that." That statement kind of became my mantra in preparing for our future and family.

So you can imagine my surprise/disbelief/excitement/terror/ineptness/kind-of-okay-with-the-idea/etc. feelings that I felt when it was confirmed that I was in fact pregnant. Now I know it sounds crazy and for women who have been pregnant, maybe you can relate, but I somehow knew I was pregnant before I "knew". It was just this feeling. I actually took a pregnancy test when I first felt this way, but I kept telling myself I was crazy, there was no way I could be pregnant. And sure enough it was negative, but I had also only been married 4 weeks so the chances of it showing up positive was small. About a week later, my jaw swelled up and was extremely painful. I couldn't eat or talk, it was miserable. By the 3rd day I decided to go to the doctor because I was also paranoid about tetanus since I had sliced my arm on a handsaw a few days before. I still had the feeling I was pregnant, so I took another pregnancy test in the morning before going to the doctor. Partly because if I was, I didn't want them to prescribe me anything that could be harmful, partly because I was so curious. After a couple minutes, the test still showed negative, so I tossed it in the trash. A few minutes after this, Jon made a joke about me possibly being pregnant to which I responded, "No way, I just took a pregnancy test and it said negative, wanna see?" I snagged the test out of the trash to prove it, except this time, there was a definite line. But those things aren't totally accurate, especially if you let them sit too long. So obviously, I still was in denial.

I made the trip to the doctor, explained my situation, so we did a blood test to confirm. The next day they called with results that I did not have tetanus, either a mild infection or just an inflammatory response, but the good news was that I was in fact pregnant. The events that followed were basically me crying, unable to understand what I was feeling (I felt all those feelings listed above at the same time), calling Jon, and most of all, trying to come to terms with the fact that I was never going to be able to sleep until noon of my own free will ever again.

In the few weeks that followed, I felt that I matured more than I have in the last 10 years of my adult life. All of the sudden, my priorities were in check. I decided to quit caffeine (thank goodness for caffeine free Dr. Pepper), I tried to eat healthier, drink more water, all my frivolous money spending didn't seem so important anymore. It was now my responsibility to take care of this little life. The weight of the responsibility was both daunting and humbling.

For most of my life, I have not been great with kids. I can play with them and have fun, but eventually they bore me or annoy me, or I bore or annoy them. I love my nieces and nephews, and my friends kids, but once they start acting up, they are someone else's responsibility. As I got older and never had any serious prospects, the idea of marriage was so foreign to me that I distanced myself further and further from the idea of even having kids. To the point that I told myself that I didn't want kids, I wouldn't be a good mom, I had dogs to fill that part of my life. I tend to follow the comedian Matt Bellassai's opinions on kids when he stated, 'Kids are just constantly sticky, you could hold a bare child against a wall and it will stay there; and its never for normal reasons.' Because really, kids can be gross and annoying and obstinate. So why am I so sad that I lost this opportunity to have one.

I understand the whole thing. I understand biology and hormones. Granted, its with dogs, but I deal with fertility every day of my life. When clients can't understand why their dog didn't get pregnant when everything was perfect, I always say, "We can do everything we can, but unfortunately, biology doesn't always work in our favor." I know that it isn't MY fault, but its hard to not run through more what-if's. I see the silver lining, I know its actually quite great that I was even able to get pregnant when odds were so stacked against. I have an incredible man at my side, some women deal with this all alone. Logically, the whole thing makes sense and I can understand it for what it is. But my goodness, the emotional aspect is depressing and sometimes almost debilitating.

The miscarriage itself was about a 4 day process of bleeding and cramps, not to mention, lots of crying. One night the pain was so bad I went to the ER. Jon was with me for all of it. God bless that man. I'll spare you the details of it all, but the pain, both physical and emotional, still linger.

Miscarriage is a tough subject for people to talk about. I'm still trying to process it all. Its hard for me not to wonder what I would be feeling now if I were still pregnant. The more women I talk to, I realize how common miscarriages happen. There's this sort of hush-hush mentality when it comes to miscarriage, like we just don't talk about it. And I kind of understand, its hard to talk about. I still cry sometimes when I talk about it, I've cried a few times while writing this, but its getting easier. I think what helped me most has actually been, talking and writing about it. I had a few family members reach out to me and offer their empathy. Family members that I had no idea they had even experienced a miscarriage. I reached out to some friends, again to find that some had also experienced it; others that hadn't, just listened. My whole perspective on miscarriage has changed. I always felt sad for women when I heard they had a miscarriage, but now my heart literally aches for them. Especially women that have had multiple miscarriages. My heart aches for the women that want children but are struggling or struggled with infertility. My heart aches for women and families that have lost a young child. This experience has made me a more compassionate person.

I am still going through the grieving process. Physically, I feel okay. Emotionally I am still healing. I have good days and I have bad days. I sometimes get overwhelmed with anger and I don't understand why I'm mad, so the closest target gets it. Some days its difficult to get out of bed and I hate everyone in the world. Most days I have to put on a fake face and survive the work day just to come home and be exhausted. I have 5 adorable puppies in my home and yet I want nothing to do with them. I don't want to care for them or play with them. This is not me. This is depression.

I am still a newlywed. I should be setting up house, writing wedding thank you notes, being so annoying with telling everyone how blissfully happy I am. Not struggling everyday, not forcing myself to get out of bed, not diverting conversations so I don't have to explain how I am "really feeling".  Truth be told, I am happy, I am just going through a tough thing. I have the most loving man to help me through this. Even on the darkest days he can make me laugh. That's what gets me through most days is knowing I have him to rely on. He makes everything better. True love exists my friends. Sometimes we just have to wait a little longer for it. I will heal, and I will try again. That's how life works. But I hope for those struggling with similar trials, you are able to find peace and know you have a listening heart with me.

This video explains empathy so well, my best friend shared this with me it taught me so much.

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