Getting My Mojo Back: Recovery After a Miscarriage
This blog was written on Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Three weeks ago, on New Year's Eve, I was at the doctor's office finding out that I had lost my baby girl, Ezraela Eaven. I wrote about it in my blog and in closing I said, "I know from past experiences that his mercies are new every morning. It’s not morning yet. And I’m not even sure when it will be morning. Probably not for a long time." The days that have stretched on since then have been difficult. And when I say difficult it is probably an understatement. I'm not sure there is a word in the English language that capture the anguish I have felt. They have been harder than when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2006 and when my grandma (her mom, who I was very close to) died while she was undergoing chemo. They have been more agonizing than when I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis in 2007 and the dramatic life change that has followed. I am not trying to belittle anyone else who has gone through or is going through similar tragedies, I am just saying for me, losing a child has been far more painful. Each morning I wake I am reminded that there was once a little baby girl in my belly and she is not there any more. Each place I go to I recall the last time I was there and that I was pregnant and now I am not. Every time I look into my two and a half year old's eyes I wonder what her sister would have looked like and how they would have giggled together. Some days are good days, still laden with sadness, but they are days I don't cry and am able to find joy. Days that I don't feel like I'm in the dark, grasping for the light. Other days are terrible. Days, like my 33 birthday (which was on January 14), where I cry all day. Days like that I don't even think light can be found. Through this grieving process I chide myself, "Aren't you over this yet?" "Why are you letting this affect you so much?" Then I tell myself to give myself a break.
I am in mourning.
I lost a child.
A couple of friends sent me a Facebook meme that read, "The only people who think there is a time limit for grief, have never lost a piece of their heart." Jesus, himself, said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted" (Matthew 5:4) and later cried at the tomb of his friend, Lazarus even though he knew that he was going to be raised from the dead (John 11:35). Even though this is not something I will ever get over, I know that each day, each step I take, it will get more bearable. It will get easier.
Before today, I was holding out for the morning that I would wake up and actually be excited about something again.
One of the things that I enjoyed doing (even though some days I hated it) before I lost Ezraela was swimming laps at the local seminary. They have a child care program, so it not only helped me to get much needed exercise, it allowed me to have "mommy time" and reflection time. When I was discharged from the hospital they told me not to do any rigorous exercise and a week later when I spoke with my midwife she said I should wait until all of the spotting was gone before I attempted to go swimming. Every day, I would say to myself, "If I could only go swim laps, then I would feel much better." Last year I participated in a triathlon relay and now that I wasn't pregnant anymore I began perusing the internet hoping to find something to do in the early summer. Something that would make Ezraela's life and death mean something. But in order to prep for any race, I would need to get back in the pool again.
This past weekend I had a really rough weekend. One of those weekends that just slaps you in the face and tells you to say, "uncle." I thought I was doing better, but over the weekend I discovered I wasn't doing as great as I thought I was. It seemed every moment I turned around something else would remind me of my loss and make me cry. I decided regardless of whether I was cleared by the doctor or not, I was going to go swim.
I woke up today like any other day. I looked at the clock and saw it was before 7:00. I knew my husband's alarm clock was going to go off soon, so I wasn't able to go back to sleep. It wasn't until a few minutes had passed that I realized I wasn't feeling sad, I was excited. I felt like a little kid on their first day of school. I was going swimming today. I went through all of the things in my head I needed to do once I got out of bed in order to make it out of the door by 8:40. As I was packing my bag I remembered the afternoon I got back from the doctor's office and had to pack my bag to go back to the hospital to have the baby. I got a little sad, but I was able to move on. Putting one foot in front of the other we were able to make it on time.
While I was checking into child care the worker asked how I was doing. I thought I could pretend I was never pregnant. That the seminary could be my place where no one really knew and I wouldn't have to deal with those emotions there (even though I had told a few people that I was pregnant). I looked up as I was about to put my daughter into the room and saw a girl that I had met several weeks before who also happened to be my sister's friend. And we were Facebook friends. And she knew everything. She asked me how I was doing. As I replied I tried to hold back tears. She gave me a hug and told me that she loved me. The child care working then also gave me a hug as I told her about the miscarriage. Even though this was not something I wanted to discuss there, I felt a solidarity with these two other moms that encouraged me to keep pressing on.
When I finally made my way to the pool and got into the water it was as if nothing had changed. However as I started my laps I was reminded that last time I swam here (the Monday before New Years Eve), I was pregnant. As I was swimming I almost started sobbing, but decided that wasn't a great idea...since I was in water and would most likely drown. I was wearing the lovely bracelet the hospital gave me upon admittance and while I was swimming I noticed that it was getting caught up in the water. As I pushed away thoughts of crying I told myself that I was going to do this for Ezraela. That morning in bed I pictured I would swim like a fish and would feel like this was my home, however that was not the case. Like my period of mourning, this swim kicked my butt. My arms were sore and tired from not being used in three weeks. My breath was ragged and I told myself that there was no way I could swim for thirty minutes straight without stopping. I told myself it was okay if I needed to stop because I had just had a baby three weeks ago. But I didn't listen to my body or my mind. I kept going. I began to pray. Initially my prayers were out of anger to God, asking him why he let this happen (there wasn't an answer), but then I was able to turn my thoughts to friends of mine that were going through a really difficult time with their grandpa. It was beginning to feel like old times. There was a guy, who I had swam laps with before, swimming in the lane next to me. I realized as I was swimming that he was half of a lap in front of me and I was keeping pace with him. After all I had been through this was a small victory. In the past I would have tried to speed up a little bit just to pass him, but I told myself I had quite a few more laps to go and I didn't want to overdo it. After awhile I noticed that he was slowing down and I was catching up with him. I was right behind him. I had about 10 minutes left, so I continued to keep my pace, breathing steady. Normally that was the time I would have started going faster, but I didn't want to get too crazy during my first time back at the pool. The last 50 yards I felt my mischievous side come out and decided to do my final sprint that I would have normally done under my regular swim routine. So I sprinted, I swam as fast and as hard as I could and even though he didn't know we were in a race, I beat him. I couldn't help but gloat just a little bit.
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.