hopeful but damaged

Flipping the channels the other morning I landed on Live with Kelly and Michael. I paused for a moment, thought about watching, then changed the channel.

That show reminds me of the waiting room at my RE’s office. For some reason, every time I’m there it’s playing. As I wait to get called into my appointments I stare at the TV screen; only half watching because my nerves are usually too much of a distraction to focus on anything.

Seeing that show flash on the screen in my living room, I immediately was flooded with how I feel when I’m sitting in that waiting room.

Hopeful but damaged.

I sit in that room with all my wounds and scars. I take deep breaths to steady my heart beat and eliminate the pit in my stomach, driven by the expectation of bad news. I wearily eye the others sitting in the room, wondering what they’ve been through, and what’s ahead. I wonder if they’ve cried the same tears I have and carry the same dented baggage that I do. I wonder if their perfect composure belies the struggle that they’ve been through too.

But the waiting room also offers the entry to answers and to making our wishes come true. I’ve grown so attached to my doctor. I wish that when we finally do get a viable pregnancy, she could hold my hand through every ultrasound and at the end be the one who delivers my baby. I never want to leave that office. I find comfort there.

Sometime I just feel like people think that you have a miscarriage and you’re sad for a little while and then you’re over it, I cried to my husband once in a moment of self-pity.

But it stays with you! I continued through my tears.

It stays with you. I feel damaged sitting in that waiting room. I feel weathered and sensitive and like I’ll never be the same.

Sometimes I want to scream, just because I’m smiling does not mean I’m ok! Just because it’s been 8 months does not mean I’m ok!

There is a gaping hole in my heart, and it’s still so raw. And it can’t close because I still want this so bad. And everything around me reminds me of it.

I’ve gotten better at coping. And pretending. And managing my emotions. I can feign happiness at a pregnancy announcement, I can hold your baby and tell you how happy I am for you. I can even press ‘like’ on all the baby pics that flood my Facebook feed. I’ve learned how to shut down a part of myself when I need to. I can go numb. I can momentarily force myself to forget the pain.

But privately, it all comes out. I never escape unscathed. Nothing that I compartmentalize and pretend is ok ever just goes away. It always finds me. Finds me in the form of a tightened chest and a stubborn knot in my stomach by day, and then pillow smothered sobs by night. Or sometimes it’s a slow build, where I tell myself over and over I’m fine, until finally it swallows me and I have no choice but to let it out.

I feel traumatized.

I started out with so much happy faith and expectation, but was greeted with blood and loss and uncertainty and heartbreak and having to say goodbye to the babies I would never meet. And ever since, I spend my days fielding a land mine of triggers. This journey is so painful because we can’t hide from what triggers our trauma and our pain. We can’t hide from baby strollers and our best friend’s pregnancy announcement and our 2 month old nephew.

We are forced to face it every single day.

After my miscarriages, I was surrounded by expressions of concern and care and I felt like I could openly grieve. And I believed that all these empathetic faces around me really understood my pain. I’ve been lucky in that sense, and would never undermine just how much love I’ve felt from friends and family.

But time goes on. And I’ve been forced to keep living with that same amount of pain. My family and friends can’t scoop me up every single day, can’t give me a constant swaddle of affection and support. And I know people stop knowing what to say, as days turn to months, and months turn to years. And that’s when isolation starts to creep in, and the silent grief. Because the pain lives on.

And as we try to conceive once again, with faith and hope our only fuel, we ache. Every negative pregnancy test brings you back to that feeling of loss. You spend two weeks wondering, hoping, and imagining you are pregnant. Day dreaming of what that would mean. Loving this possible baby to be. I often rub my belly and leave my hand there, subconsciously  trying to transport the love in my heart to my womb. Please be in there, I plead. And with a trip to the bathroom and a three minute wait, it’s all over. 

My mom often tells me that after her brother had a baby, she got the baby bug in an intense way. I just had to have you, she’s told me, gushing, giving me hugs. Less than a year later, her wish came true, and I was born.

Imagine that feeling, I said to her, that longing, that feeling that if you didn’t have a baby now, you would explode. Now picture almost two years and two miscarriages later, with no baby or pregnancy to show for it….That is what I’m going through.  That is what I’m experiencing.

Miscarriage stains everything around you. It spoils the joyful path to pregnancy. It leaves you unable to feel happiness for friends you love who have growing bellies. It causes you pain when you hold someone else’s baby in your arms. It even takes a silly show, like Live with Kelly and Michael, and taints it with its loaded association. Bringing you to that place…where pain still lives but yet you’re hopeful. Hopeful and damaged.

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30 thoughts on “hopeful but damaged

  1. This is beautifully written. I wish I had some insightful or helpful words, but all I have right now is this: I care. You are not alone. You will always have support here. ❤

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  2. The am sitting here tearing up with a huge lump in my throat. I can feel your pain and anguish. The only thing I can tell you is that when you finally start your family whenever/ however that is– this terrible pain and hardship will make the moments of joy that much deeper. Will sweep away the pettiness of small stuff and it will make your life raw with what matters. I would rather have it without all the pain and hardship but to me the only gift is that I feel much more gratitude and intense joy now.

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  3. I really connected with this post. You explained the results of miscarriage/RPL so unbelievably well. l get what you are saying about how the effects of a miscarriage change you and how no matter what you do there are triggers that we simply cannot avoid. Thank you for sharing this.

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  4. This resonates with me as well. The pain doesn’t go away, and a lot of people don’t understand that. Someone once told me that the darkness turns to sunshine…..I don’t know when that day will come, sure seems like it’s pretty dark in my world. The only thing we can do to protect ourselves from the pain is keep trying, even though the pain of trying can become unbearable. Just know you aren’t alone.

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  5. My heart hurt for you reading this. This was so well written in explaining your feelings through all of this. There is the getting pregnant part, but then the 12 week wait as well. You are in my thoughts and prayers hoping that this one sticks and then sticks for another 8 months!

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  6. So perfectly said hon. I felt transported in time to 6 month ago and the place I was in. Even with this healthy baby and pregnancy, I still feel this way from time to time. The trauma really doesn’t completely leave you, and even now, when I see a pregnancy announcement, it hurts to know that so many do something so easily that I could not. Sending you a huge hug and lots of hope for this cycle. May this be the month your dreams are realized. ❤

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    • Thanks so much. I hate how much it hurts to see this happen for others so easily, and to hear the pregnancy announcements. I always feel so frustrated that so many people will just never understand (even though I would never wish this on anyone). Hugs to you ❤

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  7. I hope I’m you months from now. I am only three months in and I can’t hold a baby without crying or really see one without crying, so you are an inspiration. It is really interesting how it effects so many things for something that so many people never know is this painful. Maybe its all the pretending that helps us get through it. I can’t wait to see you get your dream.

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  8. This was beautiful. I have been following your blog for a few months now – I had my second miscarriage in a row in June and found your blog while searching for… anything… to bring me comfort. Thank you for putting words to some of the hurt that I have been feeling.

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    • Oh, I’m so, so sorry to hear of your losses. It is so incredibly hard. I hope that you’ve been able to find some comfort and have found some ways to help yourself heal a little bit. You are not alone. Sending a big hug your way ❤

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  9. Holding others’ baby and clicking likes on friends’ baby pictures are painful for me to do. But, I do anyway. Like you, I numbs my feelings or ignore it. Thank you for sharing! You are not alone.

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    • Sometimes you have to go numb just to survive or get through your day. It’s a coping strategy I’ve come to rely on more and more during this journey (but usually ends up backfiring on me at some point!). Sending a hug your way ❤

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  10. This touched me so deeply:

    “I often rub my belly and leave my hand there, subconsciously trying to transport the love in my heart to my womb. Please be in there, I plead.”

    Because I’ve done the same.

    With heart,
    Dani

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  11. This is exactly how I feel. I am attached to my Dr – we have been through so much together. Visiting her office is awful but comforting at the same time. Probably “familiar” is a better word. My heart still aches in the same way for my babies I lost a few years ago and more recently and it always will – and that’s okay. I don’t think it’s ever something you can get over, maybe just accept and learn to live with a little better.

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