After tomorrow morning, we won't have to wait anymore. We'll know for sure that our baby has stopped growing. We'll know for sure that I'll be having a procedure to remove the pregnancy. We'll know for sure that the next few months mean rest, recovery and doing what feels good. Things like writing and cooking and walking. Tomorrow we'll know for sure that in a few weeks, Ben, Joan and I will pack our bags and scoot off to Byron Bay for a holiday. Because why not? We're firmly in "let's live this life and treat ourselves" mode. This week has been hard. I feel so incredibly drained. Drained from processing the news that this pregnancy looked to be on its way out. Drained from feeling all the feelings that come up when you hear the baby you dreamed about is not going to be. Drained from grieving this little life who was such a dear thought. Drained. Tired. Ready to move on. I'm not someone who represses feelings and deals with them later. When times are hard, without conscious choice, I open my heart and flood myself with feelings. I cry and feel and talk and write and share. And then I pause, because doing so is intense and sometimes I need to not feel. This week, I have found comfort and distraction in winter walks, belly laughs with Joan and BBC's Pride and Prejudice. These things have helped me rest my brain and filled my heart with pure joy. I suspect I'll do a lot more of this next week, too. Every morning when I wake, I am still slapped in the face with this new reality. And it hurts so, so bad to have that jolt, that shock and realisation that this is not just a bad dream. But we're getting used to it. I remember struggling with the waking shock when my brother died, too. Fuck. Life. It's full.
So, here we are, waiting for one more day. My Mother-in-law is playing in the living room with Joan, and I'm taking a few hours to rest and work and write, whatever feels good in the moment. Ben is working from home because he wants to be close. And, to be honest, I'm scared of having a miscarriage without him nearby. I have prepared myself to receive the news tomorrow that my hormone levels are very low and there is now no heartbeat, no growth. No baby. As much as one can prepare themselves. I still feel nauseated, because regardless of whether my baby is growing, there are still hormones in my body, and on top of that, this whole ordeal is sickening. But you know what? Even though I feel sick and sad and the thought of feeling any more is exhausting, I'm ok. Working in the field of pre and post-natal nutrition has given me a great understanding of the hardships that come with pregnancy. With creating life comes the risk of losing life, and I always, always knew and accepted this. My mother had a miscarriage between my younger brother and myself, and I expected on my journey to three babies, I would have one too. It's just oftentimes part of the deal, part of the process to healthy babies. And to be honest, the fact that we were able to become pregnant at all is something that brings me immense joy and gratitude. We'll lose this baby, but I WAS PREGNANT. That is a big, big deal and every second, even now, the knowledge warms my heart. And I can't help but feel excited for my next pregnancy, my next baby.
We all process things differently and are comforted by different things. While the fact of how common miscarriage is may cause some fear, it has always been a comfort to me to know that it is not under my control. This is a time to surrender to the process, to trust my body and my wise babies. When I was pregnant with Joan, if ever I felt worried or began to overthink, I would tell myself to "trust", and I'd breathe easy. I've been saying "trust" to myself a lot this week. Surrendering is liberating. And while I've grieved and cried NO and longed for this baby, the thing that shines through it all, the thing that makes me feel best, is recognising and articulating my gratitude. Because I do feel so incredibly grateful to be growing babies, and I wholly accept this painful experience as part of the process to meeting our next, healthy baby. I'm not trying to sugar coat things or bring on a lesson to make it all worth it. This is just how I feel. This is just me, folks, my feelings raw and unedited and for no-one else's benefit but my own. Writing gives me clarity and punctuates the good I feel amongst the hurt.
Ooomf. I'm exhausted. To feel grief and gratitude and excitement and sadness all at once is a lot. I'm tired of feeling, tired of waiting. I defrosted a serve of beef rendang from the freezer so tonight, when Joan is asleep, Ben and I can skip the dishes and snuggle, watching House of Cards and searching for Byron Bay houses on Air BnB. Escaping feels good right now.
UPDATE: while my hormone levels are increasing, my baby appears to have stopped developing. As we expected, I will be having a procedure next week to remove the pregnancy tissue. We are receiving great care, I feel connected to my OB and am thankful for the way she affirmed how common miscarriage is and that it's just part of making babies. She said it while I was thinking it. She said it in an understanding and caring, yet relaxed manner, and I am so grateful for that.
I'm no stranger to loss, to life not going quite as you'd like. Losing my brother was the hardest thing I have ever had to live through. And yet, I also know that so much good can come from the bad times. I'm excited for our good to come out of this - for Joan to be a big sister to a little baby we could never imagine NOT having, who won't have been able to be here if this current pregnancy was viable. And though Joan will be little older than we'd begun to imagine, I think this will actually make the transition easier, for her and myself. So it's a strange thing, the way I feel. To feel sad but also know that things will be even better than I could have hoped. Reminding myself of this and trusting in the process is what makes me feel like dancing around the room with Joan, it's what makes me want to keep those baby slippers my mum bought on my bedside table. I can't NOT feel excited, folks. I just can't.