A Mama's Story of loss. Guest Post.

Pregnancy is a lot of things. It can be a joyous and wonderful time in a woman's life. A time filled with hopes and dreams for your future child and your family.  And when a pregnancy is lost, all of those hopes and dreams are shattered. My blog is a place of sharing, of all of the experiences of motherhood and I am honoured to provide my friend Jacqueline Neher from Urban Chickadee a chance to share her story and to help her in her healing journey.

For those of you who do not know me, I am Jacqueline Neher. I am the co-founder of Urban Chickadee, Edmonton's premiere baby planning company and I deal with all things pregnancy and baby on a daily basis.  Ironically, here I am writing my story of a pregnancy loss.  I am doing this in an effort to heal, and to share.  My story reflects my shattered hope and the heart breaking loss that comes with a miscarriage.

Let me take this back to December 2011.  We had just found out we were pregnant after over nine months of trying.  A person can only take so much rejection, and I was scared to even do the pregnancy test. With all the hope and anticipation I could muster up, I took the test and sure enough there was a "+" sign on that little stick. We were pregnant!  My husband was at work until later that morning, and I decided to text him a picture of the stick - he was elated! The day was perfect!

We were going to wait to share the news with everyone until Christmas. We had our daughter’s 2nd birthday coming up, and wanted to embrace her time for what it was.  My excitement got the better of me though, and I told my sister.  I then I told my mom, and from there it slowly escalated to our entire immediate family and some close friends.

The timing of this pregnancy was absolutely perfect.  My first trimester would be over on my birthday and we were due in the summer.  I was not particularly looking forward to being pregnant in the heat, but I was excited because my mom would be off work and she would be able to provide the extra help we needed.  It seemed like everything was working out in our favour! The nine months of trying would finally be paying off.

It wasn’t long before I found myself into the 9th week of pregnancy.  I started to spot and my heart began to shatter. My gut wrenched at the sight of the little bit of blood.  For those of you familiar with pregnancy and miscarriage, you will know that this can often occur and mean nothing.  At the same time I was sick about the other possibility.   I tried to act like it was nothing, but all day I was out of sorts. Then it happened again the next day, and that horrid feeling in my stomach would not go away despite my efforts to brush it off. In an attempt to ward off any potential loss of this baby I even tried not to do anything too physical and eat healthier.  I told myself that maybe, just maybe, this could be the cause of the bleeding and I could stop it. This was all happening over the weekend it wasn’t until Monday that I could call my doctor. I held on to the hope that everything would be OK.

When Monday arrived I was able to get an appointment to see my doctor.  They sent me for blood tests that would check to see if the pregnancy hormones were still going up.  Thursday came, and my doctor called to tell me that the hormone levels were not rising, they but were still high.  She asked if I was still bleeding, and I told her it was down to very minor spotting.  To further assess the pregnancy I was booked for an ultrasound the next day – the morning of Friday the 13th. I’ve never liked that day.  Maybe because of all the superstitious and bad things thought to occur on it.  Turns out Friday the 13th can indeed bring bad luck, as we were about to discover.

During the ultrasound I knew something was wrong.  The technician kept asking me "Are you sure your dates are correct?”.  Of course I was!  Throughout our attempt to conceive I had been charting and watching my cycles closely.  The technician left to go get my husband, telling me "this is the hard part of my job".

There I was, left on the table with an ultrasound scope in-between my legs (oh yes - always fun).  I waited to be told the news and tried to hold back tears (and of course the scope in-between my legs). The technician came back into the room with a parade - my husband, my daughter, and the radiologist. The radiologist and technician stood there, gazing at the screen and tilting their heads.  They told us that even though they couldn’t get a good look at the "baby" it was only measuring at about 5-6 weeks. Apparently this is neither “good news nor bad news”, and they could not confirm anything. Either our dates were just wrong, or the "baby" wasn’t growing.

So we left... my husband remained the optimistic one, but I was not. I assumed the worst. We got home and talked things out. I Googled for hours and came to the conclusion that everything was still going to be OK.  My hope returned.

We waited for my doctor to call on Monday. She was not feeling good about the ultrasound, and she wanted to do another blood test. At this point I was so MAD at her! I wanted her to at least be a little optimistic. Why was she being so negative?  Why can’t we just wait? Despite my anger I trudged off to the lab to be pricked again. When I got home all I did was pray and hope.

My doctor called at 8 AM the next morning. The hormones had decreased again…and with that news, all my hope was gone.

We lost our baby.

I felt my heart shatter and watched as my husbands did too.  We emotionally broke down and shared that pain with one another.  Our two-year old daughter stood there watching us sob into each other's arms, not knowing why.  Thoughts ran through my head: be strong, don’t be silly, this is no one’s fault, it’s only 9 weeks – get over it!  This is not something you can just get over and I cried for the baby we will never meet, for the milestones that won’t be reached and for having to start attempts for a pregnancy all over again.  I felt so cheated.

And as if that emotional turmoil wasn’t enough, my nightmare continued.  I was told I would have to decide how I would like to "take care of this" miscarriage.  They call my situation a missed abortion (what a horrific term) and refer to this unborn child as a fetus or embryo.  I cringed at the medical terms and tried to make sense of what was happening.  My mind fought to detach from the fact there is no "baby" and the fact that it has not left my body yet.  A decision has to be made on how that is going to happen, and the nurse from the Early Pregnancy Loss Clinic walked me through my options.   All  of the options are upsetting and the nurse tells me that they don't like to do surgery, so my best one is to insert some pills. The pills that will end it all. When I talked to the nurse I just wanted this whole thing to be over, I didn't even want to go another day.  I began to think of it as a fake pregnancy and I just wanted it to be done. I asked how soon I could get the pills and I planned for the weekend.

It's a surreal thing to plan your own miscarriage.  You go through so many emotions.  You wonder, is this really true?  Can we just get this over with?  You question if you can even get through it. You fear it is not really done.

The nurse described the horrific physical symptoms that may present during the process and we planned for my daughter to be with my mom.  I didn’t want her to see me in any more pain and my husband wanted to be there for me. The morning I inserted the pills my husband and I braced for the worst.  We waited... and waited... and waited... finally there is a bit of cramping and some blood, but nothing like they said it would be. My daughter came home from my mom’s place and we all sat in bed and watched TV together.  I thought that maybe it won’t be so bad and checked in with the clinic. The clinic staff did not think I had miscarried yet and apparently the first dose of pills only works for 60% of women. I have to do it again.

The second attempt worked and it was SO bad. I won't go into the gory details, but it was the worst day of my life! I believe my mind tried to protect me and I felt numb. It was as if I couldn't process what I was actually going through. Then it continued...

...for three more gut-wrenching days.

I am now an empty shell.

Looking back at the last few months I think the only way I could have gotten through all of it was because of the support of my husband, who grieved with me and cared for me. I am also so glad that I reached out on social media. I can not believe how many people shared my story and reached out to me. I did not feel so alone.

In an effort to move on, we’ve planned a special trip for our little family.  My focus will be on a healthier lifestyle for the future as I try to forget about the loss. Every once in a while it still hits me like a brick wall, but I try to refocus my thoughts and get through the moment.

My husband is such an optimist, and he tells me that this is one more experience I have to relate to with people in my life and in my business. My grandmother always tells me that "God only gives us what we can handle”. I guess God thinks I am one hell of a strong woman. If that’s the case, then that is what will be.  I will be strong for me, my daughter, my husband, and for the future children that will grace this family.

 

Jacqueline Neher became mama to Little Q in 2009 and is one half of the amazing baby planning and design company, Urban Chickadee.

You can follow her on Twitter and on her Facebook page for all the latest in design trends for babies and the mamas and daddies who love them! 

 

Our version of 'Milk Sharing'!

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival! This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about breastfeeding when you have more than one child. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


As soon as my son was 11 months old, we decided to start trying to get pregnant with baby number two. And just like the first time around it took us three months of 'trying' to do just that.

*Oh, and if you are wondering how I managed to do this without weaning my son first in order to get Dear Aunt Flo back, well, that lovely lady decided that 2 months without her was plenty for me and she came back when C was a mere 8 weeks old!! Seriously!! I has just stopped all the lochia from his birth and could not for the life of me figure out why I started bleeding again 2 weeks later. It was Natural Urban Dad who figured that one out for me!!*

.....and back to being pregnant with a 14 month old boob-aholic.

Well, the kid just did not stop.

At all.

For the whole pregancy.

All 41 weeks of it.

I am not sure what my milk supply was like during that time, but he never complained. Just kept at it and nursed when he wanted, and for as long as he wanted.

Did I want him to stop during the pregnancy?

I won't lie. Yes, there were days were the mere thought of him nursing was enough to make me want to scratch my eyes out and it really did physically make my skin crawl on a few occasions. Thankfully I was reading Adventures in Tandem Nursing by Hilary Flower at the time and knew that this kind of physical aversion is COMPLETELY normal and mostly due to all the pregnant hormonal changes going on. I basically had to suck it up during those times and keep going. We also started to do a lot of count downs around that time (I would give him a 10-20 count and then he had to come off) and we made it through those few rough patches, our breastfeeding relationship still intact!

I think continuing to breastfeed my son while I was pregnant made him very aware of the whole situation early on and also, in a weird and totally awesome sense, gave him and his sibling a connection of sorts way before they ever actually met. I remember at about 6 months he could actually start to feel her kicks and thought it was quite hilarious. He would talk to her, kiss my belly (the baby) and pat it and rub it while he was nursing.

C was still quite a little guy at the time, at 18 months he weighed a mere 20 pounds, and my thought had always been to tandem nurse them for a while to give him the benefits of some nice fatty newborn milk! My daughter was born at 9 PM on October 14th, 2008, we were home by 10 AM the next day and I had both of them latched on by about 10:30.

I do believe that being able to nurse both of them, either together or one at a time, made the transition from single child to big brother a whole lot easier for my first born. Yes, he did have to learn to share mommy, but he did not have to give up something that was a huge part of his life, his source of nutrition, his source of comfort and our happy place together!

We never went through a big jealousy phase with him when his sister was born and I attribute that in large part to the fact that I was tandem breastfeeding. And shortly after L was born, pointing to my breasts, my little man told me very clearly in his 2 year old voice that one side was for him and the other side was for Baby L. :)

Breastfeeding during pregnancy and then for a whole year of tandem nursing made the transition from one to two kids easier for me, and also for my son. Yes, it was hard at times, but I am glad that we did it this way. I was so happy to be able to provide the nourishment and nurturing that both my children needed during a time of big change for our little family and I firmly believe that it has made all the difference!

And it was an Adventure!

Natasha~

 

 


Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

One more for the road.

The other day I spontaneously started crying in my car on the way home from picking up my oldest from preschool. Why you ask?

Because I have recently come to the realization that I may actually want to have another child.

If you had asked me a year ago if I wanted more kids, I would have said, "No Way Jose! We are done. My next 'babies' are going to be the stunning and perky boobie kind that I get from a plastic surgeon!" And not only that, but my husband has always only wanted two children and we have one of each, so we are good. Right?

Wrong. Here I am, seriously LONGING for another child in our lives. I swear it is to the point that I can literally feel my ovaries popping out eggs every time I am near a baby or a pregnant woman. And in my line of work, that is quite often.

So I've been gingerly trying to bring up the topic with my husband for the past few weeks to gauge his receptiveness to this whole idea. I have dropped little hints every now and then about babies and being pregnant again and of course, being the man that he is, he has remained totally oblivious. So the other night I just said it outright to him.

"Honey, I think I want to have another kid."

And his response was, "WHAT? Are you serious? I thought we were done!!"

It was pretty much what I expected him to say. And then we had a long conversation about what that would mean for us and why he doesn't think it is the best idea. I listened to him and I know that all of his reasons for NOT having another child are good ones and make total sense.

  • We will be OUTNUMBERED! A scary thought in and of itself.
  • I have to go off of my Rheumatoid Arthritis meds and I have a history of high risk pregnancy.
  • I will be a 40 year old woman in 9 months and the risks of having a child with Down's Syndrome goes up rather exponentially at that age (1/75).
  • Where would we put the kid?? We are building a three bedroom house (I told him this one doesn't really fly-the kids can share rooms!)
  • He was just starting to look forward to 'getting me back'. I know this sounds terrible, but I see where he is coming from. I have been nursing for 4 years, we have been co-sleeping for most of that time as well, and we have not taken a couples only holiday since our first son was conceived in 2006.

He also said something to me that made me really think. He told me that I need to realize that motherhood is not just about being pregnant and breastfeeding and babywearing and all the "baby" stuff. Our kids need me in a different way now and I need to be able to grow-up as a mother, just as much as they are growing up and into little people. (Damn him and his logical, I am making too much sense, brain!)

And when he asked me WHY I felt the need to have another child, all I really had for him was that I just did. I can't explain it rationally, and no, it really does not make a whole lot of sense, but I just FEEL like I am not done yet. And I did not have these feelings a year ago, or even six months ago, but something has changed and it is a deep down gut feeling that we are supposed to do this.

We have not come to a decision just yet. I have asked him that we keep the discussion open and on the table. And he has agreed to that. He really is a good man.

All I can say is that right now I feel like sparklers are shooting out of my pelvic region a la Katy Perry in her Fireworks video every time I am anywhere remotely close to a baby or pregnant mama.

Just stand back a bit....

Natasha~