April 25, 2018

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Being OK

April 25, 2018

I don't know how to write about this. 

 

I imagined this as some sort of hopeful, optimistic post about how we're lucky to have what we do have and that I'm doing fine. But I'm a realist, sarcastic, and I don't write like that.

 

Monday, 4/16, we found out that we'd lost the baby. I noticed it before the doctor said anything... That little flicker that was the heartbeat was nowhere to be found. As the doctor took a few more measurements and quietly murmured that there wasn't anything I could have done, I kept searching for any sign of movement, even though I knew I wouldn't find any. In the coming minutes, the doctor would explain my options for moving forward, and mention that I was taking the news "stoically". In that moment, I didn't know any other way to take it. I knew the minute I had to tell someone else (in this case Austin, who couldn't be with me that morning) is when I would lose it. And I did. 

 

It was a surreal feeling walking around in the days that followed. I even had the fleeting thought a few times that maybe, just maybe, the heartbeat didn't show up that day for some crazy reason... Machine was messed up, baby was turned weird, whatever. False hope is a strange thing, it defies all logic. It lets you carry around this little "what if" spark even when every logical part of you says otherwise. I mean, the only real indicator I had was an ultrasound, and they get the gender wrong sometimes... Right? And I felt normal; well as normal as you can with a bunch of hormones coursing through your body. Nothing felt WRONG. "I'm OK." became my mantra, and every morning became a meditation on those two words. If I said it enough in my head, it was true right? It wasn't... And many lovely people told me it was fine if I didn't feel OK. It was fine if I needed to process what was happening, and it was fine if I needed to be upset. I don't know why I needed someone else to tell me it was OK for me to be upset, but I did.

 

Without going into too much detail, we had to make a decision about how to proceed.  We did, and I had a small surgery this last Monday. There's a certain amount of closure knowing that this process is complete for us and we can move forward. Because for me, that's all I really can do. Take the next step forward, hug my boy and be thankful for what I do have. Especially that little boy that still randomly says I love you... Uncannily knowing when I need it most. These two will be what get me through the moments that the sorrow tiptoes its way in again, and they will be the ones that hold my hand until it's gone.

 

It's times like these when you realize just how amazing people can be. Of course Austin, Declan, and my family/friends have been incredible, but there were so many unexpected kindnesses as well. I am TRULY fortunate to know the people I do. These people have continued to hold me up when I was at my lowest. I wouldn't wish this on anyone, but it's a damn good reminder of the incredible folks that surround me. 

 

I almost find it fitting that this week is National Infertility Awareness Week. As many of you know (mainly because I'm not shy to talk about it), we have to do IVF to conceive. As heartbreaking and awful as these two weeks have been for me, there are SO many other people out there whose paths have been much more difficult. We're fortunate to have what we do have.  So with my story, I'm going to ask one small request. If you DO know of anyone battling infertility, be a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on... Hell, someone just to hate the world with them for a bit (speaking from my tiny breadth of experience, there are days where you do kind of hate the world, and just want to be able to do that for a few). If they're not shy about talking about it, you shouldn't be either. I talk about my experience because we all have different ways of creating our families and no one should be ashamed or feel broken because they need help. 

 

I realize as I've written this that it's a little more hopeful than I was feeling when I first started writing... I'm going to take that as a sign that while I'm not there yet, I'm healing. I'll continue to heal, and grow, and in time actually be OK. 

 

Love to all of you that have stayed with me this long!

 

 

 

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RACHEL CATHLEEN PHOTOGRAPHY
Serving Seattle, Tacoma, and everywhere in between: Auburn, Kent, Renton, Maple Valley, Des Moines, Federal Way, Tukwila, Bellevue, Issaquah, Puyallup, Sumner, Bonney Lake, Fife, and surrounding cities.
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