*Warning: This post may contain an inordinate amount of discussion of such words as menstruation and uterus. If that makes you squeamish, you should probably stop now and instead surf to espn.com or something like that.
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself feeling exhausted. I was falling asleep on the couch at 9:30pm and heading to bed at 10:00, only to wake up with the boys at 7:00 and not ever feeling like I got quite enough rest. I’ve been taking the boys’ nap time for my study and prayer time, and I twice fell asleep while doing so. Both times I surprised myself a little when I woke up, since the last thing I remembered was closing my eyes to pray, then – bam. Asleep.
One night I was telling Preacher Man how strange it was that I was so tired and joked, “Maybe I’m pregnant.” He did not think the joke was quite as funny as I did, so I reassured him that I was actually on my period at that moment – so there was no way.
A couple of days later, I woke up with a very weak feeling tummy. I drank my coffee just fine, but by the time I got around to eating breakfast, the thought of food made me feel noticeably sick. I managed to eat an egg, but the nausea stayed with me until the afternoon. “Huh,” I thought, “This new medicine sure is affecting me strangely.”
This past Friday night, I woke up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. I was thoroughly annoyed at the interruption to my sleep, and as I crawled back into bed I thought, “Geez, I haven’t had to get up to use the restroom since I was….”
My first order of business the next morning was to take a pregnancy test. I squinted my eyes and tilted the test and couldn’t deny it – there was a very, very faint line. Preacher Man tried to tell me that he could see where the line would be, and he thought the line was just showing through – that the test was really negative. As someone who’s taken dozens of pregnancy tests since we’ve been married (what? so i’m a little paranoid about such things), I tried to assure that if there is a line there, it means something. I’ve taken my fair share of tests in hopes to see that little blue line, and I can tell ya – when there’s no pregnancy, there’s really no line.
However, since the line was so faint I did my best to not freak out and wait until the next morning to test again. Preacher Man sweetly got the tests from Walmart for me (along with some Reese’s mini cups – the perfect gift for any occasion), and I took one the next morning. Yep. Faint line.
It took until after I finished this test to remember that I had finished my period just four or five days before this. As I thought over how strange that was (even though I do know some women have a full period in their first month of pregnancy), I remembered that there were actually several really strange things about my period. Firstly, it was ten days long as opposed to my usual 5-7. Secondly, it started and stopped two or three times, which has never happened. Thirdly, my cramps were stronger than usual, and for a couple of days I kind of thought my uterus was going to fall out. I remember thinking, “Phew, having two kids really has changed my body.” Fourthly, it was really freakin’ heavy. Really heavy.
It dawned on me what may have happened, so I did some googling and and felt some confirmation in what I suspected. Up to 80% of women have very early miscarriages, and most just think they had a strange period. I matter of factly told Preacher Man my suspicions, and told him I’d wait another day to test. If it was positive, I’d make an OB appointment and if it was negative, I’d assume I had miscarried.
The next test was another faint positive, although to my eye it looked slightly more faint. Deciding that I was tired of spending my day squinting at lines, I bought and took a digital test yesterday afternoon. I reasoned that if I am pregnant, the test would tell me definitively. If not, I would have miscarried about a week and a half ago, and according to my googling the HCG hormones would have been out of my system. I took the test and waited anxiously for the two minutes to pass. I thankfully had two sweetie pies who were more than happy to provide enough distraction that I didn’t check every three seconds. After changing a diaper, I walked back into the bathroom to read the test. There it was – no room for doubt, for squinting, for tilting, for second guessing. Not Pregnant.
I bent over, laid my head on the edge of the sink, and cried.
I have to be candid here (as if discussions about my cycle aren’t candid enough, right?), and admit that at least 80% of my tears were overwhelming relief. Preacher Man and I had just decided that we’d wait another year to talk about the possibility of having more, and I’m just now feeling like my life is not total chaos. On the other hand, my heart was also heavy with sadness.
I was devastated when I found out I was pregnant with Bear. I cried every time I thought about it for the first two months, and I freaked out about my capability of handling it emotionally and our ability to handle it financially. As I looked at Bear during the past few days, I couldn’t help but be reminded of God’s faithfulness and provision. He knew His plan for us, and He knew that not only would He provide for me emotionally and us financially – He knew that I would pray prayers of thanksgiving for that boy every day of his life. He knew that I wouldn’t be able to imagine life without him, and I wouldn’t trade a moment of his life for all the world.
I didn’t want to be pregnant, but I knew that if we were, God would provide for us in ways that would astound me. After just having lost almost 50 lbs I wasn’t excited about pregnancy weight, but I couldn’t help but be in awe at the idea of nourishing life again. Being pregnant wasn’t in our plan, but I had confidence that our little family would only be blessed by it. At the time I had no idea, but I remembered the specific day that I miscarried. I was bleeding particularly heavily and passed what I thought were blood clots. I now know that it was the beginnings of the life I was carrying.
I know it doesn’t make sense, but I’m at once relieved and at the same time mourning. I’m not seeking to define or explain that dichotomy, I just know that I’m experiencing it. So I’m allowing myself to both rejoice that I can have an extra cup of coffee and sleep right through the night, and mourn that my body didn’t hold onto the life it fleetingly possessed. I don’t know that it’s the best way to process my emotional roller coaster of the past week, but it’s just about the only way I know.