That One Dreaded Question.

Caveat emptor:  This is going to be a heavy post.  I’ve written it a thousand times in my head, but I went offline for awhile.  This is my story about moving on from heartbreak, so it is not my usual content.  We all experience loss in life, and this is a post about heartbreaking losses I have experienced over the past four years and how I’ve dealt with them.

There are two four-lettered words that I loathe:  “only” and “just.”  Let me explain.

I am often asked, “Is Savanna your only one?”   Oh, how I hate this question.  Sometimes, I get the shortened version with a quizzical look, Just one?”  I have answered this question a thousand times, and I always offer one of several canned responses.

“Yes, I guess we got it right the first time.”  That much is true.  We most certainly got it right the first time, but in more ways than anyone could ever imagine.  “Yes, just one.  She keeps me busy enough!”  Also true.

Mike gets the same question in different form.  “Man, when are you guys going to try to have another one?”  His responses are often more blunt. “Nah dude, we’re done.  Trying isn’t the problem.

If people knew what a loaded question this was, they would never ask me in the first place.  I answer anyway because these are normal questions to ask (in my book).  I also appreciate the genuinely caring people I meet everyday who care enough to ask about my family.

However.  I have gotten tired of answering the same question over and over and over again.  It leaves me feeling slighted.  These canned answers dishonor what Mike and I have been through over the past 4 years.  It feels like I am deleting my past with these words, and that no longer feels right.  It’s time to modify my answer in a way that honors our family expansion efforts.

Here is the truth, and those of you who have followed this blog already know the first half of the story.  When Savanna was 4 years old, we got pregnant and had a very public miscarriage at 13 weeks.  It was horrible, I had surgery, and we worked our way through that loss.  Six months later, we decided to get back on the wagon.  I got pregnant again and the exact same thing happened. The heartbeat was there, and then it wasn’t.  End of story.  It was just as horrible the second time around, especially since it meant the first miscarriage was not the “fluke” my doctor said it was.

But we recovered.  Lots of healing took place over the years, and both of those losses became a part of who we are together.

Last year, we made a huge decision.  Mike and I decided to go to a specialist who could help us correct the problems that most likely caused both miscarriages.  Let’s just say this:  it took real balls on my part to even consider getting pregnant a fourth time.  I had no interest in repeating the nightmares of the past, but I felt that I needed to try again.  Take one for the Gipper. Third time’s the charm!  I had an excellent specialist, and we had no doubt that it was going to work this time.  We forged ahead with positivity and cautious optimism, and we were expecting our 2nd child in December 2015.  Exactly three months from now.

Only that didn’t happen.  Again.  This time, I was closely monitored twice a week and had fair warning about 3 weeks before my 3rd miscarriage happened.  Let’s just say that fair warning during pregnancy is not a good thing.  It is much like being tied to a train track while watching a train approach.

During that 3 weeks, I put on a good face and carried on with my life because I had no other choice.  I went to spin class.  I went to Mother’s Day parties at school.  I attended my daughter’s dance recital and pretended everything was normal that day, despite the fact that I might miscarry at any moment.  I sat on the end of the back row on the very end

And then, the train hit.

I had a miscarriage in my bathroom on May 10th, 2015 on Mother’s Day.  MOTHER’S DAY.  I literally held a teeny, tiny baby in the palm of my hand around 3pm on Mother’s Day.  In my own bathroom.

I have heard the occasional person say, “but it’s not a baby yet, it’s an embryo.”  Let me dispel that myth for anyone who actually believes this misnomer.  IT IS ALREADY A BABY.  I know this because I held my tiny baby in the palm of my hand.  It had tiny arm and leg buds, and I saw the teeny, tiny heart that we had watched beat on the ultrasound screen several times.

As you might imagine, this was a fairly traumatic loss for both of us.  I would compare it with an emotional earthquake, with the aftershocks hitting at unexpected times.  Recurrent miscarriages seem to accumulate some real emotional wreckage.  I spent the entire summer dealing with the aftershocks, drinking a little more wine than usual (for me, that means a glass almost every night as opposed to 1-2 glasses during the weekends only), and coming to terms with the fact that we are not going to have another child.

Lots of healing has happened, and we are moving forward.

We can’t choose what happens to us, but we can certainly choose our reactions.  I was very, very sad for a few weeks.  Few things are as disempowering as losing an expected child.  Two weeks after this loss, there was a moment when I felt a stillness of my thoughts.  It felt like a pause wherein I could choose to sadness or happiness.  I could take a left turn and continue to feel sad and angry, or I choose a right turn and take the joy that is available in my life.  Either way, the choice was mine.

It dawned on me that the greatest loss would be getting stuck on this loss like a broken record….and missing out on the joy that is in my life right now.

I chose the right turn.  It was a very conscious choice.  Here is what I have decided:  sometimes, you have to decide to choose joy.  It is a very conscious decision to focus on what you DO have, and to choose to be happy about that.  I refuse to be a victim to these circumstances, or to any others for that matter.  I am so grateful for my beautiful, healthy, sweet daughter.  We were lucky to have her.  In fact, I am now convinced that the only fluke in my life was Savanna.

But she is not the only one.  She’s just the only one I have at home.  I have three in my heart, and I have one at home.

And maybe the next time someone asks me the dreaded question, “Is she your only?” I will give a different response.  A response without those four letter words.  One that honors our family expansion efforts and the lives that never made it here.

“I have three in my heart and one at home.”  

I’m grateful for my husband, Savanna, our health, our family, and our friends.  There is so much joy to be found in each moment, but we have to choose mindfulness and presence in order to experience that joy.  I hope that in sharing this, I can do my part to help dispel the myth that we should not talk about miscarriage.  I also hope that if you have been through anything similiar, you feel a little less alone after reading this.  You, my friend, are not alone.

That’s all from South Florida for today, folks.  Three in my heart and one at home……and that is enough._DSC0086-1