This is the story that I never anticipated writing. I initially wanted to make a video to share this content, as I’ve been moving towards video blogs as my favored method of communication. I sat down in front of the camera and started talking, started melting in the hot sun and then it was time for an ice cream date with my friend. As I sat there and told her the story while slurping down vegan ice cream I realized that there is so much that I want to share and it can’t be confined to the neat and tidy video. The pregnancy and the miscarriage have been truly expansive, challenging and soul shifting experiences for me and think the journey deserves to be shared and shared fully.
We found out we were pregnant a few weeks before we planned on “trying” to get pregnant. It was actually the day before Mother’s day so it was fun to share the news with the moms right away. It was also about a month into my journey as a self-employed entrepreneur. I thought it would be great because I would be able to set my schedule around caring for and nourishing my body and later the baby. Of course it didn’t go as I envisioned. My first pregnancy experience was quite easy. I was 21 and 22, working a very easy retail job. My biggest problem didn’t have anything to do with the pregnancy or the baby. I had no idea that pregnancy could knock you on your ass. I soon realized just how lucky I was that first time around. By week six of this pregnancy I was starting to get morning sickness. I started to find relief in specialty teas, then ginger cookies and candies, then motion sickness acupressure wristbands. Every week was something else; B12 and B6 injections, homeopathic pills, acupuncture, eating watermelon, exercising. It all helped but nothing took it all away the way I wanted. I was soon repulsed by my favorite foods. When Gabe brought home some of my favorite pastries I actually cried because the thought of eating flakey, buttery goodness made me want to barf. Who was I? I knew this was lesson number one for me. I’ve always been the type of person that needs to feel top notch in order to work. I don’t push through pain or discomfort. I take it as a welcome sign to rest. I knew that in order to survive financially and to keep a momentum in my business development I had to push through, even if it meant working my ass of for that one hour per day that I felt good.
Needless to say my hormones were raging. Soon I was swimming in a fear, stress, and hormone cocktail I like to call depression. This is the last thing I wanted to experience while being pregnant with this child from the love of my life. I hit a point where I knew that I had to ask for help. Only a handful of friends knew about the pregnancy. I would tell people as I saw them, but I wasn’t seeing many people in my nauseous state. Their words were encouraging but I wanted more help. I needed help with cleaning. I needed people to bring over premade food so that I wouldn’t have to open the fridge and get sick off the sudden harshness of food smells or the overwhelming odor of food being cooked. I needed monetary donations. I needed prayer. Most of all I needed to learn how to ask for help and receive it. And so I did and I received in beautiful ways. It was humbling to sit back and receive gratefully and to remind myself that I have given from the heart many times over and it is my turn to be on the other side of that cycle. I think I also challenged my husband to open up more fully to asking and receiving. This whole process has been a huge lesson for us both on men’s ideals around asking for help, letting their guard down and softening when they need to, but that is a whole other blog post.
Asking for help opened me up to deepen friendships and to new opportunities. It was after I asked that I started to finally feel better. We took a scheduled camping trip to Jalama Beach at the same time of my asking breakthrough. I left the city knowing my struggles were being heard and friends were ready to help. I walked away from the stress, the smells and the struggle and took to that windy beach for a healing reset. It was during that trip that the morning sickness went away for good and I was reminded of the value of grounding and connecting with nature. As I entered my 13th week I was excited to finally be feeling better physically and emotionally. We were able to see our midwife for the first time and I fell in love. Instead of waiting and hour and having a five minute visit like in a traditional Doctor’s office I waited maybe five minutes and then spent an hour going over everything, including how papa was feeling and any of our questions or concerns. We heard the baby’s heartbeat and it was very strong and healthy.
At this point I was excited to share the news with the world. I decided to announce by posting a video of Gabe knitting a little baby beanie. It felt good to finally be able to talk about pregnancy and baby excitement. Posting photos of food cravings and sharing all those #preggyproblems. I even started to edit and post pregnancy vlogs on YouTube. Life started to return to normal. I tried to get back into a normal groove for myself, which was difficult because with all the turmoil of morning sickness I hadn’t really created a sense of normalcy for myself. Also, I had to figure out how to serve clients since my last attempt at doing Reiki while pregnant did not turn out pretty.
While entering the second trimester of pregnancy I felt like I had gone through an exorcism. I went from being miserable, having days where getting some hummus and chips down was a victory and being just emotionally and physically stressed to feeling joyful, plowing down my favorite foods and knowing that I was being supported in many ways. I had a deeper sense of gratitude now that I had come out on the other side. I started to manifest amazing things like a free EMF blocking bellyband and blanket and then we manifested a two-night stay in Las Vegas. It worked out perfectly that we could go for our one-year anniversary weekend. My in-laws even insisted on treating us to a meal at Nobu while we were there. I started to study the menu and Yelp reviews weeks before our trip and had a strong craving for some high quality sushi. The good thing was we had a prenatal visit prior to the trip so we could get an okay or nay from the midwife and I could decide if I would be eating sushi or steak.
Our 17-week visit came quickly, it was a Wednesday morning visit and our trip was scheduled for Friday. I was feeling wonderful. I finally had a few maternity clothes and that sense of calm that comes with being able to comfortably fit into my clothes again. My energy had come back. I was able to sit through a weekend of classes and spend time with friends in the evenings. I soaked it all up knowing that our nights out were about to change. Our midwife visit started with touring the brand new space they just moved into. I was so excited for the new space and could even see myself birthing in the beautiful room with the steam shower. The student midwife started by taking my vitals and asking how everything was going. Everything was good for me, good sleep, good appetite, energy was better, no swelling or constipation or any other those other pregnancy issues. Should I have taken that as a sign? Who knows? Then came time for the Doppler to hear the heartbeat. The student midwife couldn’t find it. The boys were both taking video and I had to tell them to stop before I started to scream at them or break down crying. Then the midwife stepped in and tried to find it. My belly was massaged for quite some time and I knew something was up. She told me not to stress and that it could be something like the placenta getting in the way, etc. She suggested getting an ultrasound, which was what I was geared towards also. So we headed home, grabbing lunch on the way and a new video game for Kaj to play while waiting. The boys didn’t have the same sense of urgency I did but I decided to indulge them because I knew they would be waiting patiently with me the rest of the day. We headed home and grabbed a few more things then to our nearest Kaiser office. There was no OB/GYN department there, so we had to go to an office 10 minutes away. There I had to explain the situation to the receptionist, holding back my stress induced tears so that she would get me in without an appointment. When I was called back by a nurse I was only asked to take a test to confirm pregnancy and then told to head to the E.R. at yet another location.
At the Emergency Room I had to explain myself a few more times, letting them know that I had been seeing an outside midwife until now. I had actually planned on seeing an OB/GYN at some point but out insurance had just kicked in and I wasn’t in a rush. I feared there would be judgment but I just kept chugging along. In the Emergency Room I had to lay on the bed alone in one of those glorious gowns until I could ask for the boys to be let in. I was promptly connected to monitors and had an IV inserted in the crook of my right arm. Not the most comfortable place to put an IV, but I wasn’t really in control of that was I. I laid there anxious and worried until they were ready to wheel me to ultrasound. At that point the boys were finally making their way back and would wait for me in that small, depressing room. Ultrasound wasn’t anything like typical prenatal visit ultrasounds. It was a dimly lit room with several curtained partitions. I had to lay while the technician got to work. At first I would tweak my head to see the screen. I could see baby’s head outline and not much movement. It didn’t look hopeful but I was just happy to see some type of image of my baby. The technician soon scooted the monitor closer so that I couldn’t view. At one point I was asked to turn on my side and as I looked at the wall to my now in front of me I was faced with a large die cut butterfly image. That was my sign. The little one told me that it had flown away. It was my second butterfly sighting of the day. The first was when we were coming back from lunch and coming home to gather our things. I got to the top of our stairs and looked down at the boys. A yellow butterfly flew by just above Gabe’s head. The message I got then was that the little one was still with us, just not in fetus form anymore. I didn’t want to fully accept it at that time. Ultrasound finished with me and told me that the doctor would tell me the results. I was wheeled back to the boys. I tried to joke with them and keep the mood light for Kaj’s sake. Then the ER doc rushed in and simply stated “I’m sorry but there is no heartbeat, someone from OB will be down to talk to you” and promptly rushed out. Shortly after a male OB doctor came to visit us. He apologized and said I have two options; to be transferred upstairs for an induction or to schedule a surgery where I would be opened up with seaweed sticks and then my uterus would be scraped. I asked for a moment to think. It was still just hitting us and we were in no place to make a decision. We called our midwife and I cried on the phone to her that I just wanted to go home. She said absolutely, that sometimes once a woman knows that there is no longer a heartbeat that the body goes into action. I was uncomfortable and I couldn’t bear to see Kaj in any more shock. We went home, reached out to my mom and my acupuncturist and tried to wrap our heads around what was happening.
—-To be continued with our healing journey in Part 2.