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

 

How is Your Thyroid Doing?

I have written about thyroid health numerous times here in the past, including articles about the importance of getting a comprehensive thyroid test and the numerous problems your thyroid can mimic.  I have even written about the fact that broccoli can slow down your thyroid gland when eaten in larger quantities.  This time, however, it’s personal.

This summer, I got really tired.  Not the type of tired you might feel after, say, an all nighter or a monster workout.  I’m talking about the kind of tired that two Venti Starbucks a day can’t fix……bone ass, drag-yourself-through-the-day kind of tired.  At first, I thought maybe the summer heat was leaving me feeling drained and lethargic.  Then, I began to wonder if something was really wrong with me.  I kept thinking I was fighting something and always hit a wall around 3pm in the afternoon.  I had trouble doing CrossFit and decided to take a break for awhile.  It gets tough to do an intense WOD when you don’t even have the energy to get through the normal daily routines.

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Ten Reasons to Quit Dieting Forever | Females, Hormones, and Intermittent Fasting

Have you ever been on a diet?  I’m sure you have.  Haven’t we all?  The older I get, the more convinced I become that dieting will soon be an archaic term.  They never work in the long run and nearly always do more harm than good.
The effects are different in women.

In fact, females are more sensitive to the physical stress imposed by dieting and Intermittent Fasting (IF).  We experience problems with circadian rhythm, hormonal balance, and adrenal fatigue pretty quickly.  If you’ve ever laid awake at night feeling rather jacked up and hungry or “wired but tired,” you know what I’m talking about here.

Here are ten big reasons to quit dieting and start thinking differently about getting healthier.  Believe me, your adrenals, ovaries, and brain will all thank you for it.

1.  Increased ghrelin.   Severe food restriction (consuming 500-800 calories per day) causes an increase in ghrelin, better known as the “hungry hormone.”  This hormone is the reason for your ravenous drive through the Chic-Fil-A window after an exam, a sleepless night, or an emotionally stressful week. WORSE:  This effect does not end when you stop dieting.  It can go on for up to a year after you stop food restriction. Continue reading “Ten Reasons to Quit Dieting Forever | Females, Hormones, and Intermittent Fasting” »

Adios, 2011: Fini!

Dear 2011,

You sucked.  If I could choose a year of my life that I would like to Cntrl+Alt+Del, you would be it.  I am so happy to say goodbye to you that I decided to honor your ending with a blog post.

The past several years have been rather “cleansing” years for many people.  Even Dr. Christiane Northrup referred to the years of 2010 and 2011 as the “The Great Colonic.”  As usual, I find great comfort in her words because they validate my own experience.  The years of 2010 and 2011 were full of loss and new realizations, but 2011 has been the Mother Cleanser.

In fact, I could sum up my own life in 2011 with two words: pregnancy and miscarriage. I was pregnant for 6 months of 2011 and recovering from miscarriage for 6 months.  Pregnant, miscarriage, recover.  Pregnant, miscarriage, recover.  Now, finally, I am on the other side of those losses.

We finally, finally killed Bin Laden, and what a great day that was for Americans.  Oprah held her last show, ending her era as the talk show queen.  The NBA finally ended the lockout, Penn State ended the abuse, and we watched as Gaddafi begged for his life before someone else ended it for him.

And then Steve Jobs died.  It’s funny how upset I felt when I learned about his death when I didn’t even know this person.  And yet, I think many of us were a bit heartbroken.  Steve Jobs and Apple represented a such a bright spot in a rather dismal economy.  Jobs expanded and grew Apple at breathtaking speed despite the economical crises, and we could always look to him for innovation and exciting new technology.

I will always remember the thrill of a new product unveiling wherein Jobs presented a beautiful, shiny new Apple device. I wish we could all hear his dramatic flair and characteristic finale one more time, “And one more thing….”.                                    RIP, Steve.    I will always appreciate the fact that I witnessed your brilliance during my lifetime.

Having said that, I am eternally grateful for the greatest blessings in my life, both of which can be summed up with one photo:

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Top 10 Tips for Losing Pregnancy Weight

Losing weight after pregnancy or miscarriage can be extremely tough.  In my own experience, losing weight after miscarriage has been much harder than it was after pregnancy.  No matter what I did, how consistent I was, or how hard I tried, I could not lose the last 6 pounds after miscarriage. I’ve come to the conclusion that this has a lot to do with excess estrogen.

Your liver is responsible for metabolizing estrogen, and it can’t do this job it’s busy getting rid of other crap we put into our bodies.  Therefore, the excess estrogen in your system after pregnancy or miscarriage continues to float around and make fat loss virtually impossible. Once I made a few simple, yet powerful adjustments to my lifestyle, the weight finally came off.  These changes had nothing to do with exercise or caloric deficit and everything to do with helping my body do some estrogen detox.

Here are a few less well known tips for losing weight after miscarriage  and pregnancy that can help lower your estrogen levels and make your efforts more effective.

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Five Big Reasons to Skip Happy Hour

Do you like to have a few drinks at the end of the day? Few people really understand the connection between alcohol, hormonal balance, and weight.  Here are a few of the biggest reasons you should consider skipping, or at least minimizing, your alcoholic beverages.

 

 

 

 

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Fluke: How to Recover After Miscarriage

I have written this post many times in my head and yet, I couldn’t sit down to type it out.  Perhaps this is because I needed some time to process the experience, or maybe because I tend to avoid sharing personal failures on the internet. Whatever the case, I share this story now because I am certain that some woman, somewhere, some day, will read this and feel less alone.  Or perhaps some mom will feel less alone in the future when this becomes her story, too.

January 7, 2011

Mike and I were surprised (and overjoyed) to learn that I was pregnant!  The baby was due in September, just a month shy of Savanna’s 5th birthday.  I ceased all of the usual things immediately: alcohol, raw fish, any OTC not safe during pregnancy.  Like most couples, we spent hours thinking and talking about names and imagining Savanna as a big sister.  I had a very strong feeling that it was a boy, just as I felt with certainty that Savanna was a girl.  We named him Luke.

My first trimester was complete with nausea, occasional hurling, endless fatigue, and the complimentary muffin top.   Around week 10, I began to feel better.  The nausea lifted, energy returned, and I started to show.  We shared the news with anyone and everyone:  family, friends, school teachers, the president, and anyone else who would listen.

Continue reading “Fluke: How to Recover After Miscarriage” »