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1 in 4: My Miscarriage Story

Preface: Hello, lovelies. I wrote this post originally in April of 2019. It’s been sitting in my drafts since then, but I feel like I should press publish and release it into the world. I hope that it helps someone feel less alone. After this happened, I ended up having an ectopic pregnancy, which will be a story for another time. I now have a one year old daughter, so for anyone going through this, don’t lose hope. Hugs to you all.

Up until 7:12 this morning, I was pregnant. At 7:12, my doctor called. I picked up, hopeful. Maybe he was calling to tell me great news. Maybe the HCG levels that I had worried myself sick about had suddenly gone up over night, and my baby was safe.

In my experience, doctors don’t call for great news. This morning was no different. My HCG level had dropped from 86 on Monday to 32 on Wednesday. I tried to keep it together on the phone, but I know my doctor could tell I had already begun to cry. My heart had sunk and I felt sick. I pulled to the side of the road and fell apart.

Today, I would have been 5 weeks pregnant. I had done my research. If I could have made it through this week to 6 weeks and 2 days, my baby would have had a heartbeat. We would have been good, and our family would be growing.

When I took that first pregnancy test and saw the faintest of lines, my heart skipped a beat. As all neurotic people do, I proceeded to pee on more sticks. The lines kept getting darker. I peed on more sticks, you know, just to be extra sure. From all the articles I’d read, this was a good sign. This little bean was going to stick. I was going to be a mom.

I found out I was pregnant 8 days ago. In those 8 days, I had built a life up for this baby in my head. I imagined carrying him for the next 9 months. I imagined how it would feel to hold him in my arms for the first time. I imagined making funny little purees for him out of kale and strawberries. I imagined walking him to kindergarten and then waving him off on his first date. I imagined driving him to college – how excited he would be about decorating his dorm room!

I imagined all of this, although I knew I shouldn’t have. I knew that up until the second trimester everything was up in the air. I know now, despite the blame that I put on myself, that there was a 20% chance that this would have happened. I know I will try again, and that one day, I will have a baby. Maybe two.

I’m hurting. I didn’t think it would hurt this much but it does. As of 7:12am, I am no longer expecting a baby. I am now expecting blood, to remind me of what could have been. I hope this part comes soon, and leaves quickly. As much as I hurt, I know that I need to hurt in order to heal, and to try again.

For something that happens so often, it’s a shame that it’s so taboo. If I am hurting, I imagine every woman and couple who has gone through this has hurt as well. I am now one in four women who will suffer from a miscarriage. That’s a lot of hurt to keep bottled up. So I’m not going to. I’m writing it out, for the whole damn world to see. This hurts, and that’s okay. I’ll be okay too.

My pregnancy tests after the news of the miscarriage

This is Postpartum

So… you’ve pushed your bundle of joy out so the hard part must be over right? Wrong. Welcome to postpartum, my friend!

Postpartum doesn’t look at all like in the movies. It’s not glamorous by any means. There’s a lot of joy, but there’s also a lot of other feelings – sadness, jealousy, longing for the past. It’s hard as hell.

Motherhood is hard as hell on your body. You’ll feel like a ghost of who you were. A bloated, heavy ghost. You leak… everywhere. Your chest goes crazy. You have the longest, strongest period of your life. Your eyes are red from constant tears. You’re sore in places you never thought you’d be sore. You might have pushed so hard that blood vessels all over your body have broken. Remember the nights of 8 hours of sleep? Those are long gone. You’ll find a 5 hour night “refreshing” now. You can’t think straight anymore – you’ll reread e-mails you sent and hope people overlook your lack of grammar. Also… no one warns you about post-labor contractions. Those hurt like a mofo. You’ve given yourself to your baby for the last nine months, but it’s not over. You are now responsible for sustaining them with mother’s milk.

Motherhood is hard as hell on your emotions. You find yourself going through every emotion in the book within minutes. You’ll question if you’re a good mother. You’ll second guess everything you do. You might get down, for an extended period of time, and wonder if something is seriously wrong with you. You’ll feel alone and lonely. You’ll then feel guilty about those feelings. It’s a cycle that hurts your heart.

Motherhood is hard as hell on your relationships. If you’re like me, and you don’t have many friends who have kids… you might feel isolated. You might feel left out and long for your “old” life. You’ll see your husband in passing and have energy only for a head nod. You’ll miss them… a lot. You’ll wonder if you’ll ever sleep in the same bed, or share a laugh together again. You’ll bicker about small things that don’t matter.

Motherhood is hard as hell, and so is the postpartum period. Pregnancy takes a toll on your body. Childbirth does too. But it’ll all be worth it. You’ll look down at your baby, and your baby will look back up at you and you’ll know it’s worth it. It’s worth the tears and the pain and the loneliness. You’ll realize that these moments are precious and that your baby will never be this little again. One day, they’ll grow up and not need you and you’ll long for the newborn days.

My newborn and I, embracing the postpartum experience.

Emetophobia and Pregnancy

Vomiting scares the hell out of me.

“Okay Jeanette, no one likes throwing up – stop being dramatic.” I’ve heard it over and over growing up. Here’s the thing. It’s not just not “liking” vomiting. It’s a constant anxiety. It’s panic attack inducing. It’s something that changes the way I live.

Emetophobia is the phobia of vomiting. I’ve had this deep fear since childhood. I have no clue where it stems from, but I recall when my younger brother or sister would get sick, my parents would have to comfort me. Personally, I haven’t thrown up since I was about 5 or 6. It’s been a solid 2 decades.

How has emetophobia changed my life? I never drink to excess out of fear of being ill. I wouldn’t go to parties as a teenager. I avoid public transportation as much as possible. If I am on public transportation, I am constantly scanning others for signs of possible sickness. If someone coughs, my heart starts beating faster. I’m very cautious about food and how it’s prepared. I keep Zofran in my purse.

What happens when I feel nauseous or someone around me is ill? I freak the hell out, to put it simply. I caught some type of bug when I was in Israel a few summers ago and I remember crying on the phone to my husband about how scared I was to throw up. I appear heartless to those who are sick, because I simply cannot be around it. Physically, my heart starts to beat faster when someone even mentions being sick. My anxiety goes through the roof. I start thinking of escape plans. I get as far as humanly possible from that person. If it’s me who is nauseous, I typically take Zofran, rub mint oil all over and chew gum in an effort to keep it at bay. I’ll probably cry as well.

How has it been with pregnancy? Honestly, a million times smoother than I thought it would be. I have had bouts of nausea throughout my first and third trimester, but never came close to actually throwing up. It was a huge concern of mine prior to getting pregnant, but my wonderful husband made sure I was always stocked up on ginger candy, tea and sparkling waters to help keep it from becoming actual sickness. I am far more concerned about how my emetophobia will pan out when baby is actually here. Kids get sick – I know this. I’m trying to rationalize it in my head that it’s just a natural thing that happens but I can’t. When I taught elementary, when the kids got ill, I could not help them at all. I often couldn’t stay in the room with them. I’m nervous that my daughter will see me as a heartless creature for not being able to comfort her when she’s ill. I’m starting to get nervous about how the bathroom upstairs is connected to both her room and our room. The thought of her being sick in the middle of the night terrifies me. I have discussed this with my husband, and he is very understanding, and is okay with dealing with that part of parenthood, but at some point, I will likely have to deal with it.

I’m not quite sure why I wrote this all out there. Emetophobia has played a big role in my life thus far, and I expect it to continue to as I set forth on this new chapter. I know it’s not an especially common phobia, but it’s there and I have it. I hope that one day I will be able to overcome it, but I know there’s a good chance I can’t. I’ve come to terms with that.

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Health Life Lately

I Haven’t Written in a While (word vomit)

I had grand plans of writing at least once a week once quarantine began, but I haven’t. I think it would be good for my soul and all that if I did but for some reason, it’s easier to just not.

Today is day 41. Since then, I’ve left my house for some walks (which I have since traded in for scenic treadmill walks) and 2 doctor’s appointments. Groceries have been delivered, either by my gracious mother, my brother-in-law or the ever lovely Instacart.

I am grateful that we live in a comfortable home, that makes quarantine not so bad at all. I am grateful for a job that I can continue to do remotely (especially during the third trimester). I am grateful to be quarantined with someone I absolutely love and enjoy spending time with. I am grateful for my health, the health of my family, and the health of our baby.

While I am grateful for all these things, I am beginning to feel a bit cooped up. And that’s okay. I can be grateful and frustrated simultaneously. I wish I knew when it would be safe to go get breakfast with a friend or go for a walk in my neighborhood without anxiety. I wish I had no worries about what the world will look like when our baby decides to make her appearance. I wish I knew a lot of things.

In the meantime, I will take it day by day. I will follow the news (but not too closely). I will continue to connect with the people I care about through FaceTime and messages. I will soak in the extra time I get to spend with my husband, just the two of us. It’s a special treat almost, before our baby’s arrival. I will continue to reflect on all the goodness there is in life.

When this is over, I will try to remember how this period of time was and not take for granted being able to hug my dad or see my friends. While this period of time is rough for some, it’s also a blessing in disguise. It’s allowed me to slow down, to rest. We don’t get a lot of time for that, and when we do, we often feel guilt. I am loving being able to leisurely read a book in the morning, or chat with my husband. My daily naps have become a highlight of my day. Taking is slow is just so damn nice. I hope to continue some of this slowness when the world is back to “normal.”

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Life Lately Pregnancy Thoughts Uncategorized

Quarantine Day 1 Minute by Minute Updates of an Extraordinarily Busy Lady

I am extremely grateful that I live in a state that recognized that schools are a breeding ground for germs and closed us down for the next two weeks. In the meantime, I’ll be staying at home, except for walks outside (don’t worry – I live in an area where no one takes walks outside so social isolation is easy). I thought it would be amusing to do a play by play of how my first day of quarantine went. Read on ya’ll!

8:30am – Wake up startled that I’m late for my first period class. Calm the feck down and lay in bed for a while.

9:10am – Haul myself downstairs (hauling is not an understatement – I am 27 weeks pregnant). Greet darling husband, who happens to work from home. After a few minutes, he exclaims that “this is going to be a long two weeks.”

9:30am – Wrestle my duvet into the duvet cover. Have to take several breaks because my heart rate is too high. Have a thought that a duvet stuffing class would make an excellent cardio class. Will come back to this idea when the crisis is over.

9:40am – Realize I’d be a terrible housewife.

10:00am – Finish folding the laundry that I’ve been putting off folding for the last three weeks and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. (See thoughts from 9:40am).

10:30am – Eat some dope breakfast tacos (shout out to Siete for making those yummy grain-free tortillas) and finish reading Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb. I feel like a God damn scholar. Decide that after the quarantine, I will come out much more intelligent.

11:00am – Sit down to get some work done. Procrastinate by Googling “coronavirus.” Learn nothing new.

11:30am – Actually start working. At this point, I am convinced that I would not only be a terrible housewife, but also a terrible WFH employee.

11:35am – Get distracted from work and start writing this blog out.

11:45am – Get back to work.

12:30pm – After a solid 45 minutes of intense work, I take a break to watch the new Bert Kreischer special. Laugh a lot. You should go watch it.

1:30pm – Decide to go take a nap.

1:31pm – Decide that before I take said nap, I should eat a bowl of oatmeal so as to sleep better, like a baby.

1:35pm – Eat a bowl of oatmeal, with some bananas and a spoonful of peanut butter. Say “yum”! Whilst eating, the mail arrives, including a massive bag of maternity clothes. Realize I will not have to wear real clothing for at least several weeks.

2:00pm – Take my well deserved nap.

3:00pm – Wake up from nap and go for a leisurely 2-mile walk with my husband. Get spooked by how quiet the neighborhood is.

4:00pm – Do a light workout with kettlebells. Before doing so, read the news that I obsessively refresh. 55 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, and the first death.

4:30pm – After exerting so much energy today, decide to make dinner. Tonight is super fancy – kale a la chicken nuggets. Leave my pregnant taste buds alone bruh.

5:00pm – Sit down to watch an episode of Sex Education, while eating my super fancy dinner.

6:00pm – Actually sit down to do some work for the first time all day. Get confused about how so much time has passed, and so little productivity has happened.

7:30pm – Get ready for bed. Yes, I start to get ready for bed between 7:30 and 8:00pm. I like sleep. A LOT.

And that, folks, is how my first day of quarantine went.

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Pregnancy Uncategorized

In My Feelings, a la Drake

I’ve always seen self care as a bougie massage, a fancy workout class or a face mask. I never thought there would be the day where self care was a nap and a shower, but I guess this is part of transforming into a mother. Today, with my husband’s guidance, I took an hour long nap and a hot shower, and I swear I feel like a new woman.

My feelings have been all over the place lately. I have great days, shit days and okay days. Last week, I had a series of shit days that made me question if I would ever see a great or okay day again. It hit me hard. I spent a lot of time crying and wallowing. I felt fat, useless and exhausted. I felt scared and anxious about the future. I feared that I would never be Jeanette again, that I would just be mom.

Thankfully, I have an incredible husband who has been patient as hell through the last six months of pregnancy. He listened to my every cry, reminded me that my body is working it’s ass off to grow this baby, and helped me to get myself out of that slump.

I know that that was probably not my last slump, but it feels good as hell to be out of it. I would describe it as that feeling when you can breathe again after having a stuffed nose for a week. It’s heavenly.

Becoming a mom is not how it looks on TV – a perfectly round tummy, a great self esteem and boundless energy. The truth is that pregnancy is a body that changes constantly. Pregnancy is having to catch your breath after going up a flight of stair. It’s questioning whether or not you have what it takes to be the mom of your dreams. It’s looking in a mirror and missing the “old” you.

While that is depressing AF, pregnancy is also the knowledge that your body has done something absolutely incredible in growing another human being. It’s the feeling of having your hand on your tummy and feeling your baby kick. It’s knowing that you, along with the person you love and value most in this world, have created life together.

This last week I’ve been focusing on taking care of myself, whether that be a hot shower and clean hair or a fun workout class. As frustrating as pregnancy can be, I’m amazed on a daily basis by what our bodies can do. I’m so grateful for a body that is able to move, support me and my baby.

Pregnancy and Eating Disorders

I’m anorexic. I may not look it anymore but anorexia doesn’t leave. It’s kind of like a leak in your house… at it’s peak, it was flooding my house. Now, it’s more of a moist stain. It has its ebbs and flows.

Thankfully, I have a much healthier relationship with food and my body image these days. Thankfully, despite the damage I did to my body as a teenager, I was able to get pregnant. That was one of my biggest fears as I got older. I don’t know how I would have been able to forgive myself if I had been the cause of my own infertility. I’m grateful I never had to deal with that.

I’m pregnant now, and in my fifth month. It’s been a rough ride for me, emotionally (physically too but that’s to be expected). It’s easier now that I’m visibly pregnant, but at the beginning, when it was just bloat, ideas of restriction flew through my mind. I had days where I cried about how I looked. Vain, I know. It was difficult to give up a workout I truly loved (CorePower – I’ll be back for you soon) and be pretty inactive my first trimester. It was hard to see my pants tighten, and my boobs get bigger.

What’s helped me cope? Obviously, knowing that I am growing and nourishing my baby helps. Being pregnant has made me think not just about how I look, but how I feel. If I eat well and exercise often, I know my baby will be better off. If I restrict and overexercise, I’ll be hurting not just me, but my lil babe.

Being active has helped tremendously. After my first trimester ended and I was feeling better, I was able to take daily walks or go to yoga classes. Going to pre-natal classes has allowed me to surround myself with women who are in the same boat. Moving has allowed me to truly connect with my changing body, and appreciate the craziness that is pregnancy. It’s mind blowing that my body is able to support not just me, but my little one.

Having a support system has been essential. My husband is my rock, and I am so grateful for him. I know it must be silly to see me cry because I’m getting more “pregnant” but he gets it. He reminds me often that my job right now is to grow our baby. My friends have been great too. If you don’t have a dope ass husband or amazing friends, I suggest you get some (easier said than done, obvi).

I have good days, and I have bad days. My anorexia will always be there, and I recognize that. In four months time, my daughter will be here and that is inspiring me to tackle my problems head on. I won’t deny that I have issues. They make me who I am. I will work every damn day to be a great example for my daughter though. I want her to grow up knowing that she is a strong, bad-ass woman. I want her to know that her worth is beyond the scale. In order for her to believe that, I have to believe that too.

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Pregnancy Six Things Saturday

Six Things Saturday #1

I used to do Five Things Friday, but I’m lazy so Fridays are pretty damn unproductive. So… here is Six Things Saturday!

#1. Chocti!

This stuff is GOLDEN! It’s made of ghee, dates and cacao and freaking delicious. I spread some on top of a paleo English muffin and it hit the damn spot.

#2. Cilka’s Journey!

This is the follow up to The Tattooist of Auschwitz and I am digging it. I’ve been reading it in the morning and have really enjoyed it so far. Holocaust books have been my thing lately, as morbid as it sounds.

#3. VapoShowers!

Being pregnant and sick is the absolute worst. I had a cold for about 11 days and was miserable. Vick’s came in and saved me (at least momentarily). You drop these into the shower and the hot water makes the air smell like Vick’s. 10 out of 10, would suggest.

#4. Ugly pictures, delicious tacos

I finally jumped on the trend train and tried Siete brand paleo tortillas and they have been a game changer. I’ve been loving them as breakfast tacos, with eggs, bacon and avocado! Crisp them on the stove for a few seconds and enjoy!

#5. Ugly picture, cute swaddles!

I’m starting to buy things for Baby M and one of the first things I bought was this set of swaddles (and burp clothes). I love nice things, but I love a great deal even more. I bought this set of Aden + Anais swaddles off of Facebook Marketplace for $10! What a steal – each of these blankets retail for $16. Excited to wrap Baby M in them!

#6. Nursery theme!

We also chose a nursery theme and I’m SO excited to get to work on it. So far, I have this pillow, a quilt and some sheets. Anyone know what the theme is based on this quote?!

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Pregnancy

My Favorite Thing About Pregnancy…

I’m 17 weeks pregnant now, and it’s pretty damn obvious. My favorite thing to do at the moment is have people (whom I don’t know) ask me when I’m due. When they ask, I tell them I’m not, with a straight face. Seeing their reactions is the absolute best and brings me more amusement than it should! Who said pregnant ladies can’t have any fun?

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Life Lately Pregnancy Teaching Thoughts

Life, Lately – Winter Break Edition

One of my goals for 2020 is to write more. I think I hesitate to write because I want it to be “pretty” – if I don’t have a cute photo to use as the headline, whats the point?! I want to get away from that. I feel better when I write (and ramble). Right now, I just want to do all the things that make me feel better.

As a teacher, we get two weeks off every winter which is glorious and something I count down to from the first day of school. Unfortunately, we go back a few days early this year to make up some of the days that we missed while striking. While I didn’t get my full 16 days off, I did get a nice 12 day break.

Prior to finding out I was pregnant, I had booked a trip to Sweden and Ukraine. I had to cancel that and was disappointed AF. I live to travel. I thought this break would be terribly boring without a trip. To be honest though, it has been exactly what I needed. A period of time to step back and relax. To sleep. To (unfortunately) get sick. To spend time with my family. To watch too much TV.

As I transition into this new role of motherhood that will be arriving in the next five months, I think about how my life will change. I’m sure that after baby is here, 12 days of peace, quiet and no responsibilities will feel like the best damn vacation in the world. So here I am, reflecting on the last two weeks (in picture form of course).

During break, I took care of myself. I had massage appointments (my body has been feeling rough the last few weeks), acupuncture sessions and a few yoga classes. I took walks outside to enjoy this incredible weather we’ve had the last few weeks. I let my body feel something other than pregnancy.

During break, I rediscovered this incredible food combo. I used to buy cut up fruit with chili powder outside of my college dorm often and this brought me back to that period of time. Thankfully, Trader Joes carries a chili lime seasoning that doesn’t have chemicals!

During break, I bravely ventured to Home Depot to buy a few items for my husband. I did not do so well but ya’ll, I tried! On the bright side, I did discover that Goof Off works wonders on your car when it comes to removing paint!

AND I bought this cute Carhartt hat on sale! Who knew Home Depot was so trendy?!

During break, I popped over to Lush and bought a few things. I got some shower melts which I enjoyed and the therapy massage bars that I had read about on pregnancy forums. Not a huge fan of the shower melts, but the therapy bars are incredible! I’ll be continuing to use them throughout this pregnancy!

During break, hubby and I bought a couch! We had held off on purchasing one for years, and had tried other seating arrangements instead (such as a Japanese tatami mat and 2 recliners). We bought this beauty at Costco and are pleased by our decision to follow the mainstream crowd! Movie nights are much comfier now!

During break, I got sick. Being sick while pregnant equals misery, as you aren’t allowed any of the good medicine. What would typically be a 2 day cold turned into a 5 day death bed visit. I ate my weight in pho and binge watched season one of You (which was insanely good, albeit creepy)! While being sick royally sucks, it’s also a good time to slow down, binge on media and take it easy.

While this break wasn’t what I had thought it would be, it was exactly what I needed. I spent quality time with my husband, watched a bunch of movies, relaxed and took time for myself. (Side note: I also think I felt the baby kick for the first time, which was mind blowing). That is my life, lately.