The Thing No One Talks ABout

I wrote this back in May, but I just kept it for a while. I ran across it today, and decided to post it.

“I’m pregnant”

It’s funny, those two little words can change everything in just a few moments. And though I am sure there are plenty of times when those words are met with unhappiness (perhaps a sixteen year old girl sobs them into the phone, while her best friend is listening agape on the other end of the line), so often these little words, this short phrase, is met with happiness. Shock, laughter, giddiness, plans, baby names. Shrieks. People make plans and imagine soft little faces, chubby faces, warm bundles, fleece blankets, rooms in pastels. Normal Rockwell images flipping through of a lifetime of family and home and hearth.

I miscarried.

Those are two words that will change everything just as quickly, but there aren’t quite the same images. And we don’t hear the words often, because people don’t talk about miscarrying. It is almost a rule that pregnant couples don’t share the news of the pregnancy for those first few weeks in case there is a miscarriage. I suppose there is a sense in that, so the couple doesn’t have to go through the heartbreaking task of sharing such sad news.

On the other hand….we share other sad news. If we get a cancer diagnosis, or lose a job, or have to have emergency surgery, we often tell others then. It may even appear in a church bulletin, so people could pray or bring over casseroles. So why don’t we talk about miscarriage? Why is there such a taboo over this topic?

I have had several of my dear friends have children, and I am the oldest of a slew of grandchildren. Though I have yet to have any children, I know quite a bit about pregnancy, such as the gassiness, passing the mucus plug, epestiotomies. I’m not expert about pregnancy, but I know a decent amount about the things that happen to the body, even some of the grosser things.

I never knew anything about miscarriages.

That is, until I had one.

It was so bizarre to begin with. I am 31 and happily married, but we weren’t really in the groove for baby time. We work six jobs begin us,a nd are already ships passing in the night. We wanted to wait until we had better schedules, so we could actually all three be in the same room at the same time. We weren’t sure it would even happen. I was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 17, which can not only cause infertility, but also increases the risk of miscarriage once a woman becomes pregnant. So, the chances of us having a baby weren’t good.

It was February, and with our weird work schedules we just didnt have a lot of time for romance. But I had some snow days off from work, and we were snowed in, and well, there wasn’t anything good on television. With a week of being snowed in, I lost count of the days, and became sloppy with my birth control pill. Apparently that was all it took.

Other people may have realized they were pregnant much earlier. I was almost four weeks late before it even occurred to me to take a test. I had been cramping off and on all month,and I was used to a wonky schedule with PCOS. I was cramping, so the period must be on the way, right?

Plus I just stay busy with work, and I was driving one day went it hit me a whole month had gone by and I hadnt had my visitor. I was worried something else was up, but I figured I would take the test just in case. I had a college class to teach, but I was impatient and ran to the bathroom before class. I figured, it will be negative, and that will be that. I will call the doctor and we will figure out what is wrong.

It wasn’t negative, and neither were the three other tests I took. I made an appointment to speak to the doctor, and got in quickly when I told him I was having sharp cramps.

I can’t tell you how I felt, but I was never excited about the pregnancy. For one, I was in shock. I thought we may be able to have a baby one day, but it would take a lot of trying. For the other, I always knew something was wrong. I never “felt” pregnant, and while I know I was early, I was also four weeks late. Plus, there was all that cramping.

The doctor was not very helpful. He rushed in and out very quickly, but we did the ultrasound and saw that I was indeed pregnant, but all we could see was the sac in my uterus, no embryo. It’s too early, he said, let’s let it grow two weeks and then come back. I see a cyst, that’s why you are hurting. Take Tylenol.

There were so many questions I wanted to ask, but I was in shock and nervous and out the door before I could think of them to ask. The next two weeks were not fun. I did a lot of research though, and it seemed to me I should have seen a little blip on the radar considering my conception date. I read about a blighted ovum, where a fertilized egg gets to the uterus, but disolves, and it takes a while for the uterus to realize it. That was perfect, I thought, No baby there to lose, and no pregnancy to figure out.

I went back to the doctor, and he didn’t see anything. We did a blood test, and the results came back that I miscarried early. The doctor said he didn’t think I had had the blighted ovum, but had actually miscarried.

I cried. It makes NO sense, but somehow the difference between an egg that never attached and an embryo that made it a few days seemed a big deal, and I cried for the little…thing I had never believed in. I still call it my imaginary baby.

So, my choices were to have a d and c or to do it naturally. I had read the d and c could scar the uterus, and I would like my uterus to be in tip top condition in case I ever decided to do it for real, so I asked to wait.

A week went by. I was having a lot of sharp pains that sometimes made me want to double over, but they would go away. Finally, a week after my doctors appointment, the pain got closer and closer together until it wouldn’t leave and became constant.

Now, the following piece of my story is graphic and gross. If you don’t want to read it, then by all means, skip ahead. However, my platform here is that we need to stop hiding miscarriages and the process behind shame and guilt, so I am going to tell my story.

Apparently, during a natural miscarriage, you go through a mini-labor. Your uterus contracts, so these pains that grew closer and closer were actual contractions. Though I do not pretend that they hurt as much as the contractions that come with birthing a baby, they HURT. I don’t like pain, but I don’t consider myself a wimp either. I have a tattoo, I’ve sprained my ankles a few times, I’d gotten shots into the bone of my toe. I’ve scratched my cornea, and had some really intense period cramps.

This, was the worst pain I had ever felt in my entire life, and it lasted from about eight til three in the morning. About nine, I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom, and while I was there, I felt the blood slip out in thick chunks. I decided to push a bit, and large lumps the size of marbles slid out. I got into a hot bath for a while, and bled into the tub, but the urge to go to the bathroom kept coming. Every time I pushed, large clots came out and soaked my pad. I changed pads many, many times that night. When I would stand up, the blood would run down my leg. I rotated from the bed, to the toilet, to the bathtub that night.

I did okay, until about 2am when the pain seemed to intensify instead of lessen, and I felt like I was going crazy. It wouldn’t stop, I was tired,and all I wanted to do was go to sleep. I was by myself, and I am glad, bc if someone had been at the house, I probably would have broken down and gone to the hospital. Finally, about 230, I decided to push again, and large clots came out again. The gestational sac may have been in that mess somewhere, but I was too spent and it was all too gross to investigate. Finally after the last outburst, around 3, I was exhausted and able to sleep. I texted my husband on third shift “whatever u do, do NOT come in the bedroom in the a.m.” I ruined three towels, a shirt, my sheets, four pairs of panties, and used a whole box of pads.

The next day I didn’t bleed so much, just like a heavy period. I slept most of the day, but in chunks. I obviously stayed home that day from work, and I decided to take a second day. I started to cry and be sad at the end of the second day,and into that next day. The pain wasn’t too awful, but I felt sore, and I kept feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom, but didn’t.

The fourth day I went to work, but I felt off. I am guilty of this whenever I get sick. As soon as I deem it is over,I expect to feel fine and bounce back and be done. I have things to do. But apparently this knocks you out for a while. It was a Friday, and when I got home, I realized I seemed to be hurting more than I had for a few days. I went to the bathroom yet again,and had a mini relapse of Tuesday. I had gushes of blood and clots come out,and had to have movie night with my husband sitting on a towel.

This is day six, and the bleeding and pain are minimal. But I keep crying over nothing. I just want to feel normal again. I feel like I have a scarlet M on me. I know I did nothing wrong; I never even knew I was pregnant. But somehow I feel bad.

I was talking to a friend,and she said, this is why we don’t tell people until the second trimester that we are pregnant. Because sometimes this happens and then you have to tell people. If you don’t want to talk about it, or any of your business, then I support that right to be private. But I don’t understand why we keep miscarriages so private.

If you were, as I did, to look up the symptoms of miscarriage online, you would go to several respected websites such as WebMD or the Mayo Clinic. These websites describe miscarriages as abdominal pain and bleeding. Ha. If that was the only thing you read, you would assume a miscarriage was like a period, perhaps a bad one. Instead, it is an awful soul crushing experience where you feel you are going to bleed out your organs between your legs, and your body is going to tear you apart.

On the bright side, this is not necessarily the typical experience. But it IS a possible experience, and I think it is important for us to speak out and share our stories. We lost a baby. We went through this awful experience,and are left with nothing in return. We deserve to tell our stories, and to share our experiences. We should not be silenced, but be allowed to mourn the loss and to help others who are going through the same thing.

I miscarried. That is bad enough. I am not going to be silent as well.

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A Close Watch on This Heart of Mine

I am rereading the Bible, and I came across this last night in Malachi. This is The Message translation:

““I hate divorce,” says the God of Israel. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, “I hate the violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.” So watch yourselves. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t cheat.”

There is no surprise that God doesn’t like divorce. But this is what I like: “So watch yourselves. Don’t let your guard down.”

AMEN! I say.

I am a very strict believer in the appropriateness of male-female friendships when one is married. Of course, it is fine to have work friend, to talk to people at work or at church, etc. But I do not really like close friendships of the opposite gender: having lunch together, etc. You will not find me doing such a thing, unless it is a large group of people together. It is my goal for my husband to never have to endure any gossip of his wife being unfaithful.  He may have to look for clean socks, but never his wife’s fidelity!

It is too easy to start off as friends, and then realize there are feelings there. It is too easy to complain to that friend at work about our spouse, and then one things leads to another. It is even easier with the constant presence of social media to have in depth conversations with that person rather than spending that time and energy developing a closeness with our husbands or wives.

It isn’t enough not to cheat or actively seek out other partners. We have to guard ourselves and live above reproach.

I’ll have to ask my wife

“I’ll have to ask my wife.”

These are a little words, but they have made me happy every time I have heard my husband say them. Whether it is when we were discussing selling something, or changing our television service, or our plans for the weekend, I really enjoy the partnership these words bring.

I work to be a Proverbs 31 Wife, and my husband is far from hen-pecked. But we do try to make decisions together. He always says that we make a great team. I feel that books on Christian marriages get a bad rap, because people hear “submit to your husbands” and imagine that means meek and sad little wives bending to their husbands’ every whim. But while my husband is not hen-pecked, neither am I a shrinking violet granting his every wish.

Rather, I think peace comes from working together. God created Eve to be Adam’s helper, not his servant. We are to help him, to work together, to plant a garden, build a home, raise children. It is a partnership, not a dictatorship.

When my husband says, I’ll have to ask my wife, it is not because he is concerned I will yell at him otherwise, or because I have told him he has to. He does it because he respects my opinion, just as I respect his. We are in this together, and he wants my opinion as we make decisions (and sometimes make mistakes) for our lives together.

Stolen Moments

On Monday nights, I get home from teaching my night class at 9:30, and Mister gets up to go to work at 10:30. Tonight, he got up about an hour early, and after getting dressed, he had a little extra time. He fed the dogs for me, and refilled the ice cube tray. We took a little time to stand in the kitchen and talk about our days. He told me about some news he heard on the radio. I reminded him to call about his insurance. He asked me to pick up some more of his favorite soda. I shared a funny story from work. When it was time for him to go to work, he told me he hoped I had a good night sleep, and I wished him a good night at work. We gave each other a long hug and a deep kiss, and off he went.

It was the best part of my day.

Before we got married, back when I would imagine married life, this was not the type of thing I imagined. I imagined date nights and exciting trips, and activities, and romance. Instead, we are often ships passing in the night, but while I miss him very much, I am not unhappy in our life together either. It’s in those little comfortable moments of standing in our kitchen and sharing pieces of our lives and our home that I feel very close to him. I am his helpmeet; we are a team. I always joke that it’s me and him against the world, and he writes on almost every card, we make a great team.

Lysa TerKeurst shared on the Proverbs 31 page the other day that “the devil calls our attention to the thing that is wrong to distract our focus from all the things that are right.” I thought that was so profound. It would be so easy to be upset and angry about the days when he DOESN’T fill the ice trays for me, or about all the times we don’t get to spend time together. However, instead I choose to relish this small moment in the kitchen, or the fact that Mister likes me to let him know when I get safely home, or how sweet he is to my pets. No one is perfect, and there are so many precious memories and moments to find happiness in.

Here’s to cozy moments in the kitchen, and the ability to appreciate them.

On Marriages and Cell Phones

I haven’t posted on Resurrecting June in a very long time, letting it take a backseat to my homesteading blog, Jarring Life. But, the original topic for this blog was really marriage, and that has been on my mind lately.

Cell phones. We spend a lot of money on our cell phones. And to protect our phones, we buy expensive cases to protect them. We watch over our phones, keep up with them, make sure they are safe. We spend time on them, lots of time. We recharge their batteries when they are low. We protect our investment.

What if we did the same for our marriages. Do we protect them from the world? Do we spend time with our spouse, help them to recharge after a long day?

We need to safeguard our marriages like we safeguard those little cellular devices. The world is filled with pitfalls, and problems, and even temptations. Our marriages are precious, so much more precious than the newest iphone release, and they deserve our time and attention. I look around and see so many of us treat our phones so carefully and our relationships haphazardly.

Marriage is sacred. It is a vow we make to God, to love and honor and cherish this person. Sadly in the news, in the media, at work, walking down the street, I can see people playing fast and loose with their marriages.

Let’s start putting Otterboxes around our marriages. That is the relationship that is meant to last, not upgraded every two years.

Don’t Blame the Book!

So…I am not so good with the updating. I started another blog about saving money and couponing, Never Pay Retail. It is much much easier to update that one on a regular basis because it’s about shopping. It’s pretty easy to just post some sales from the grocery paper.

When I write about June, I want it to matter and be smart and clever and witty. That takes time, time and energy that I don’t always have. I have several ideas floating around in my head for the blog, but I want to do them justice and not haphazardly. I want them to be souffles, not pudding cups. 🙂

I think I’m a decent June considering my available time. I’m still cooking a lot for my fella, and I keep the laundry and dishes up to date, etc. etc. I try to be respectful. I remember the lines from my Love and Respect book whenever we have an arugment, and I try to think about how to explain my feelings without being disrespectful.

I am not always successful, and boy, I can tell the difference. But we seldom argue, and are very happy together.

The love and respect stuff DOES work, and I can definitely see where God’s plan for marriage makes total sense. It’s not that one person or job is more important than the other; it’s that we both have our roles and together we’re a whole, a team.

A couple weeks ago, Courtney (my partner in crime with this June stuff AND couponing) and I were talking with another friend and discussing God’s plan for marriage. We will call the other friend…Sara. So Sara was saying that sometimes the man will use the Bible’s teaching about submission to control the wife and manipulative her until he is a tyrant and she is just a sad little creature. She says that she dislikes that about the Bible.

Well, I say to Sara and to anyone else…blame the man, not the book.

If I picked up the telephone book and whacked you upside the head with it…would you blame the telephone book??

God has given us His Word, it is up to us to use it properly. In book Love and Respect,  Eggerichs repeatedly says, a good-natured husband, or a husband with goodwill. That’s crucial. If you have married a true sociopath who has ill-will, well….I’m not sure what strategy will work for you, but you still need the Lord!!

I would imagine that if you married your husband for love, and he is a believer, then he does have goodwill in his heart. It is a truly nasty character who would delight in his wife’s unhappiness. But we are all selfish creatures at times, and are so blinded by our own hurts and needs and wants that we do not see our own faults and how our actions hurt others.

Enter the Love and Respect book (or another book of this type). Such books help you to see your spouse’s side of the story, and understand how he or she is feeling, and how you can help.

We all learn the Golden Rule from an early age: Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.

It works for everything, and it works here. If you want your husband to treat you better, treat him better. If you want to receive the love you need, give him the respect he needs. In our society, we like instant gratification and instant payment, but this may not work that way. You may have to give first. You may have to give awhile, but eventually, if you have a husband with goodwill, it will work.

If it doesn’t…I don’t know. That is a tricky question, because I do believe that marriage should be forever and should be preserved as much as possible. However, that’s not always possible, and I don’t believe God wants us to be miserable, or abused. He certainly doesn’t want us to be cheated on, or abandoned, since the Bible talks of both those situations.

I will say that you know in your heart whether you and your husband have made the best and honest efforts to preserve your union…and God does too. I would also say that a pastor can help you work out anything. God has given us His Word to read and use in our lives, but sometimes we need a guide.

So…there are a lot of people in this world who claim to be religious and claim to be Christians, but they use the Bible to justify bad things. This is nothing new throughout history, and isn’t limited to marriage.

And I’m no saint myself. These are just my thoughts. I make plenty of mistakes, in my relationship, and in my life. I just try to give love and forgiveness as often as I can, since these are the things I want most from the Lord. However, I know I make mistakes, and when I make them, I know where the blame lies, and the answer is NOT in the Bible.