Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Post-Miscarriage Reflection

It's been more than a month since my miscarriage, and I'm honestly feeling a lot better about it. Do you want to know what lifted my spirits the most? (Hint, it wasn't any of the "positives" I tried to identify in the midst of the experience.). It was projecting myself into the future, thinking about our family of four (or seven if you include our bloodhound and chickens), looking at my second child and thinking, "I'm so glad you're here. I can't imagine anyone but you for my second child." 

I know people think about miscarriage and conception in different ways, but for me it's a very scientific thing. I lost a very particular child. That child was a very specific combination of a very specific egg and a very specific sperm that are no longer in existence. I will never have the privilege of knowing that child (which still makes me sad when I stop to think about it), but I am hopeful that we will bring together another egg and another sperm that will form a child I will be able to hold and nurture--a child who would never have existed if I had not had a miscarriage. 

We all think about these things differently. That's just how I think about it, and it helps me get through it.

Honestly, this is the first time in two years that I have had my body back. I was pregnant for nine months with Henry, breastfed him for 14, and was then pregnant for two months. That's more than two years of sharing my body in order to sustain another life. 

It feels good to focus on me (even though I'm focusing on me by getting my body ready for conception again). I've been running three times a week and walking on the fourth day. I've lost four pounds and am closer to my pre-pregnancy weight. I'm feeling really good.

If I felt like I could, I would probably stretch out this time a little more. It's like the time between getting married and having your first baby. It's relaxing and fun. Henry gets more and more personality every day, and it's fun to experience the world through his curiosity.

But when I sit down to map it out, I can't help but feel like we need to hurry up if I want to honor my various priorities. Those priorities include:
  1. I want to open a school in the fall of 2014. I have wanted to open a school for almost a decade, so I don't really want to put off this goal any more. Further, putting off this goal would mean that we would have to fork over another $11,000 for Henry to attend private school (we're already forking over $22,000 for two years). I'm eager to open a public Montessori school for the children of Austin (and my own child).
  2. I want to have as much time as possible with our new infant before starting a school. 
I'm already brainstorming all sorts of scenarios (i.e., working part-time to open the school while our young infant naps), but the signs still all say, "Hurry up."

Of course that's not a healthy place to be when you're trying to be as stress-free as possible in order to promote conception, but it is what it is. I chose not to get married until I was 30 and chose to have a couple years of just Matt and me before we expanded our family. So now it's crunch time. I'm turning 35 in February which means statistically increased difficulty with conception and a drastic spike in risk for chromosomal abnormalities (although my mom did had my brother when she was 38).

Also, I'm still wary about the risk of miscarriage. While I was pregnant, I personally met up with six different friends who were all pregnant within a month of me. Out of the seven of us, three of us had miscarriages. That's 43%.

Although there's nothing you can do to prevent a miscarriage, I am doing as much as possible to ensure a healthy environment for conception. I still need to go the doctor to get my hormone levels checked to make sure they are all in the right range. I also want to take care of some dental work before I get pregnant again.

Overall, I'm staying focused on the things that are within my control.

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Anthropolochic said...

Hi Sara,

I really liked your description of how you think about miscarriage. It is a new way of thinking about it for me. I've coped with the possibility of miscarriage by trying to view it as predetermined by characteristics which egg and which sperm - that it was well out of my control long before I was pregnant...but that can be cold comfort. The way you describe your view here - thinking about the embryo as a particular child whose early exit makes room for a particular second child (who would, otherwise, not exist) - is very comforting. It makes the risks and sometimes crushing disappointments of pregnancy easier to handle. It's something I will remember as we try to develop our family.

I'm happy to hear you are feeling better. Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I really love reading everything to write. I started reading $2000 wedding because I'm a frugal-yet-purposeful bride, a teacher who starts with the end in mind... and now I love reading your thoughts on conception, pregnancy, parenting, education, family, friendships... just about everything!

I, too, suffered a miscarriage. It look me close to a year to start feeling close to normal again. While I'll always mourn the loss of that child, like you I began to view the idea of having a child that would not have existed were it not for the miscarriage as a special blessing. I'm occasionally upset with myself for trying, and succeeding, to an extent, to find something positive about the loss of a child. It's so comforting to know that someone else views things similarly.

I really appreciate the courage and effort you put forth in sharing your struggle. It makes these awful experiences a little less painful, a little less isolating, a little more tolerable. Our society should be more of a community, and talking openly is one step in that direction. Thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

I just read this amazing post by Kate Clancy on the science of miscarriage. I found it reassuring, in a strange way.

Anonymous said...

The imagery sounds really positive for emotional healing. I had a miscarriage almost eight years ago, and truthfully the adage of time healing holds very true for my experience. I became free and at peace with the knowledge that most early pregancy loss is due to development not being able to continue, and mostly due to early genetic abnormalities. You sound really torn about wanting to try again soon, or planning it around your school opening. I am wondering if you are the only one working on this huge undertaking or if you are working with a dedicated team. When our son attended a public charter school and we learned the history of its founding, it was an entire team of parents who made it happen. Within a team, the logistics may be more manageable. The writings haven't mentioned a team or other founders, so I am not sure. Best of luck, things are surely to take shape in a way that makes sense and are fulfilling to you.

Kristy said...

I am so glad to see that you're managing alright. I can relate to your sentiments on miscarriage. Having had two, one before each of my boys, I can say that the first one was the hardest - when I had no children. With the second, I already had one son and I felt at peace that at least if for whatever reason I could not have any more children, I had the blessing of one. I also knew that my body was able to carry a baby to term since I had done it already so I was more optimistic that it wasn't "me". After having my second son, it reaffirmed the same feelings you had - if I hadn't have had those miscarriages then I wouldn't have my boys that I know and love today. Also in retrospect, the timings of my successful pregnancies were always far more convenient than the ones that ended in miscarriage. The world works in mysterious ways.

Katie said...

This is my first visit to your blog and I just had to comment on this post. I also had a miscarriage - between my first and second children. I was fourteen weeks pregnant and just hadn't even given a second thought to the possibility of losing a baby. I totally understand the feeling of needing to hurry up and conceive again. We actually hadn't planned to get pregnant when I had my miscarriage. We were waiting another six months or so before we wanted to try again, but after my miscarriage, instead of returning to that time frame, I just wanted to try again now. I don't know whether it was insecurity or fear...or maybe the fourteen weeks that I had spent pregnant convinced me that we were in fact ready and didn't need another six months. In any case, having my oldest already was huge! for my healing process. He helped me so much through those first days and weeks to stay focused on what I had to be grateful for and to keep me smiling and laughing as well. Now that I have another little boy, when I think about my miscarriage, I always think "If that baby had been born, I wouldn't have Clayton." So it is certainly bittersweet, but I would never go back and choose for Clayton not to be here. I guess everyone finds their own way to heal. So glad to hear that you are finding yours.

nichole said...

You might have read this from my blog, but if not I'll try to give you the short version of my reproductive woes. I've had one pregnancy and one miscarriage. Bummer, eh. That makes Beatrix our daughter through adoption. Obviously. One never knows what monkey wrenches life is going to throw your way. Wanting a child and not being able to create that child produced a rawness in me like nothing else. BUT I learned a ton from it. I learned a lot about letting go. I learned how to loosen up the reigns on my desire for control. And to blow with the wind. If that makes sense. Without the sorrows that accompanied infertility, we wouldn't know Beatrix. She would be someone else's gift. I can't imagine walking through life without her. The universe is wild and wonderful.

I hope everything works out just as you intend, but even if it doesn't, you and your family are going to be A OK. Just wait and see!! :)

Sara E. Cotner said...

Nichole! I had no idea! I went back and read all of your posts in the infertility and adoption categories. I'm even more desperate to be your friend! You are such an amazingly thoughtful and insightful person. Thank you for sharing your journey so openly with all of us. Hugs to you.

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