Sunday, August 23, 2015

when god's timing isn't what you had in mind

I have hardly kept it a secret that I'm someone who has always wanted to be a mom and who has always wanted a ton of kids all smushed together. I've always had such a hard time in school because I've never been interested in having a career. Even music, which is obviously a very important thing to me and my family, couldn't quite fulfill me the way being a mother has. Having Milo has been the very best thing for me. It has given me so much purpose and drive and confidence. Being his mother is what I was born to do. I was worried about how being a mom would affect my schooling, but it has given me more purpose in that area as well. I want to be as educated as I can for him. I want to show him that it's possible to do school and have a family as well, if that's a road that he ends up taking someday. I want to show him that I am a motivated and driven person and that I can do hard things, even (and especially) when they aren't my favorite.

As much as I have genuinely enjoyed being both a parent and a full-time student, I knew that I didn't want to have another kid until I graduated. I only had about a year and a half of school left when Milo was born, so that seemed more than reasonable. I started getting the itch for baby number two when Milo was around six months old, but this was always a fairly easy desire to ignore because I knew that my education was the most important thing at that point. Plus I had a super cute baby to keep me occupied.

I'm officially graduating December of this year, which means that as of April or so we were IN THE CLEAR to start trying for baby number two. Let me tell you, I was ECSTATIC. I felt like I had been waiting forever to be able to start trying again. I was so proud of myself for holding out and the timing just felt perfect.

It only took us a couple tries before I took a test one morning and saw two lines! I called Andrew at work and let him know, and then told a couple close friends and family members. We were expecting a baby! Due in February! It was perfect! I called the doctor and scheduled my first appointment about a month out and then took about 5,000 more pregnancy tests just to make sure I read the first one right.

A week later, at exactly 6 weeks along, I started spotting. Which got heavier. And heavier. And then turned into just about the worst pain imaginable. I called the doctor and they had me go in and do some bloodwork to test my hormone levels. This sounds so silly now, but I genuinely believed that I was just having weird symptoms, and that everything was going to be fine. I read on a bunch of forums about women that had bleeding during pregnancy, and a lot of people reported that after experiencing heavy bleeding discovered they were having twins! TWINS! Maybe I was having twins!!

After the first blood test you go home and then come back 48 hours later and they test them again to see if they've gone up like they should. Those 48 hours Andrew and I basically just sat around in our anxiety as we went back and forth between "everything will be fine" and "there is no way this is just normal pregnancy stuff." I tried to prepare myself for the imminent let-down but something inside me kept this ever-going optimism. I wanted so badly for everything to work out the way I wanted it to.

Long story short, the doctor's office ended up calling just before I was supposed to go in for my second blood draw and told me that my hormone levels from the first test were incredibly low and that I didn't need to do any more tests. I was definitely miscarrying. All I could do now was go home and wait it out.

The first day was the worst, but every day since then got progressively easier. We started trying again almost immediately and that helped me feel like we were being productive and working towards something. I kept telling myself that I was lucky that it happened so early and that it was stupid to be sad about it because it wasn't even technically a real baby yet. It was just a tiny blob of cells. Why was I mourning a tiny blob of cells?

Initially Andrew and I talked a lot about how blessed we were (are). We have a seriously perfect baby and some people don't even get that. I was only 6 weeks along. We never heard a heartbeat or had an ultrasound, and in some ways the pregnancy hadn't felt fully real yet. We hadn't been trying very long, and could continue to try. We know that we are capable of getting pregnant. We are so blessed that our situation wasn't worse than it was. We know so many people experience far worse miscarriages and stillbirths.

I didn't realize that I wasn't properly dealing with things until the February baby pregnancy announcements started popping up everywhere. I opened up Facebook one evening and there at the top of my feed was a "Baby coming February 2016!" announcement and I just completely lost it. I was so surprised with myself, because I thought I had dealt with it and was "over" it.  But seeing that announcement and realizing that could've been me hit me harder than I ever expected.

It was then that I realized that this whole miscarrying thing isn't a competition. It isn't about whose loss is worse or who feels it more. It doesn't matter if you're pregnant for 6 weeks or 16 weeks. The moment you watch a positive pregnancy test emerge on your bathroom sink, you imagine an entire life with another little person in it. I wasn't mourning the loss of the blob of cells that I lost, but the infinite possibility of what those cells could have become.

It's been about three months now since I miscarried. I'm still not pregnant and I have no idea when I will be. It's still hard to see pregnancy announcements and baby bump pictures. Don't get me wrong, I am SO THRILLED for all my friends who are expecting. But it's impossible to not feel the tiniest pangs of jealousy when I think about what my life would be like if I were 15 weeks pregnant right now (although I must admit, sometimes I am SO THANKFUL I'm not currently 15 weeks pregnant). I still don't understand why this pregnancy wasn't supposed to work out. I'm not sure I ever will. But for now I'm learning how to deal with it in a way that allows me to occasionally feel sad and jealous. I don't need to justify it or qualify it. I hope that someday soon I am blessed with a successful pregnancy, but until then I can find my own happiness with my husband and beautiful toddler and my incredible friends.

And you know what? Sometimes I'll have sad days... and that's okay too.


  1. I just read this, and I just wanted to tell you that you are an amazing woman, Catherine. You have incredible strength and wisdom. I love you (and I know this sentiment is the same for my whole family) and want you to know that I really appreciate your influence on our lives. *Hugs from me*

  2. I just read this, and I just wanted to tell you that you are an amazing woman, Catherine. You have incredible strength and wisdom. I love you (and I know this sentiment is the same for my whole family) and want you to know that I really appreciate your influence on our lives. *Hugs from me*