Gavin DeGraw is my favorite musical artist. I see him in concert any chance I get. When I moved to Florida, it took 3 years for him to come around. So when I heard about it, I begged by boyfriend to “let” me buy tickets for myself and my soon-to-be 2 year old. (She loves Gavin too).
My day began with the normal excitement on Gavin Day. His shows are often so intimate and sharing that experience with my daughter was making my heart glow. In my Facebook memories, a post comes up from November 4, 2017 at 9:07am, with crazy excitement about taking my baby to her first Gavin concert.
I was 6 weeks pregnant.
Not many people had been told yet. I knew it was going to be my last baby, and maybe that added to my glow. I also felt intense gratitude that I was again being blessed with pregnancy, when for so many years I battled infertility.
Was the timing great? Probably not.
Was my home life great? Eh.
But I was 39 and time was ticking. I was not going to let anything detract from the joy of becoming a mother to another miracle. I was a strong woman and would figure out whatever I had to in order to have this baby.
I was in the master bathroom getting ready with my little girl, blasting Gavin in prep for what I knew was going to be an amazing night.
That’s when the cramping started.
Soon after came the bleeding. I sobbed uncontrollably. I knew what was happening. I contemplated what to do. I was home alone with my daughter and my boyfriend’s daughter would need to be picked up from school at the end of the day. Should I go to the ER or just accept that I was losing the baby and go on with my day? (Yeah, this is how crazy I get sometimes)
I messaged my boyfriend to tell him I was going to the hospital to get checked out. I had flashbacks of going to the ER three years earlier, with his daughter in tow, where I learned about my ectopic pregnancy. I was anxiety ridden as I recalled that experience in which I lost one of my fallopian tubes.
What if this one was also ectopic?
What if I lose the other tube?
I’d definitely never have another baby. The flow of tears wouldn’t stop.
I sat there numbly as the nurse performed the ultrasound. Nothing but a cyst on one of my ovaries. Empty uterus. Beta numbers were extremely low. This was never a viable pregnancy.
One of my boyfriend’s friends came to sit with me and help with my daughter. I tried to hide my pain from everyone. I tried to play it off and act like it was no big deal.
Hey, I already got to have a perfect kid, right?
Hours and hours passed. I asked to leave. What the hell was the point of sitting there once they told me that I was miscarrying? I might as well salvage what I could of the day and go to the concert. They kept me there waiting, releasing me just about the time that the concert started. It was in Miami, about a 45 minute drive from the hospital I had gone to.
I knew I was going to miss most of it but I felt like I needed the distraction and Gavin’s music soothes my soul. I wanted my daughter to have some fun after sitting in the ER for all that time, being the great kid that she is.
This story is definitely about the pain of this miscarriage and the anniversary of what may end up being my last chance at having another child. Make no mistake that it is a sad day for me every year. I’d still be breastfeeding that precious baby right now if I was able to carry him or her to term. My life would be a lot different than it is today.
But this story is going to take a turn that you’re likely not expecting.
“I guess I won’t be buying you any more concert tickets.”
He said a lot of the standard things you say to someone who has lost a baby, none of which were comforting (think “at least you have Scarlett”), but this is the thing that I will remember forever.
It was horrible. It was cold. It was dismissive of my pain, and a punishment for having a miscarriage – something that was not my fault. He also said some other shitty things like “We really can’t afford another baby, so maybe this is for the best” but nothing hurt as much as that one statement.
I wish I was making this up. It was a conversation that turned my stomach, and my head back on straight.
It would have been easy for me to say that he “just doesn’t understand” or he is “just being a guy”. In this moment though, I said “he’s being a heartless asshole”. Because that is exactly what he was being.
My eyes became WIDE open, like that moment in The Sixth Sense when you realize what is actually going on with Bruce Willis’ character.
I suddenly saw the controlling, gaslighting, and being used. I honored my gut (who did tell me often that my role in this man’s life was not what I had hoped for), and the reason didn’t matter. You see, for a therapist, it’s difficult to do anything but believe in people’s capacity for change. You don’t give up on your clients, so you don’t give up on others….to a fault.
I made a conscious decision to “fight back” and that’s why I say it was the beginning of the end.
In his eyes, I had changed and become bitchier and impatient. I was being difficult and ungrateful (because I “got” to stay home with my daughter). But in my eyes, I was remembering who I am and what I deserved. I was reminding myself that if I was my own client, I would be working to strengthen this woman from within so she wouldn’t accept emotional or financial abuse.
It took a year for me to leave after this.
But I did, and never looked back.
It was not easy and I am still putting pieces of myself back together and, the worst feeling ever, putting pieces of my child back together.
What’s the point of this post? It’s a two-fer.
A story about how miscarriage grief exists independent of how many children you have. #Important
But also a story of how the worst day of your life can be the start of creating and living your best life. #AlsoImportant
Today is a sad day for me. I cry on and off all day because of the idea that I may never get to have another child. I love being a mom and I crave the feeling of growing another human inside me, this time without all the stress and BS, and bringing that child into this home full of love. Because that is what I have today. A home full of love, acceptance, respect, and sensitivity.
I’d be lying if I said that I have accepted the idea of that being my last pregnancy.
What if it can’t happen? Today I ask myself that because of my pain.
Tomorrow I will be able to say “Oh, but mama….what if it CAN?”
Go forth and make the choice to grow from pain and take care of yourselves.