HOPE and why it is important especially after loss
Do you know that feeling when you pee on a stick and you want it to be positive and it is? Well that happened to me almost 3 months ago!
When I found out I was pregnant, I was beyond thrilled! My husband and I couldn't wait to have a sibling for our son, Aiden.
In fact, I was so excited that I couldn't even wait to tell our parents and some of my closest friends.
The truth is - I wanted to tell the world!
Luckily, I didn't tell the world quite yet. I figured it was good practice to wait until at least we saw the heartbeat.
So, I called my Doctor's office and scheduled our first appointment for what would be 9 weeks for this little one growing inside of me.
In the meantime, I put all the dates in my Ovia Pregnancy app and patiently waited for a new week so I could read about the development stage of this baby inside of me! First a tiny seed, then a lavender sprig, then a french candy. It was so fun to see and read about the baby's growth.
It all seemed to be going according to plan. My belly was growing, my nose was tremendously sensitive to odors around me and my appetite was limited due to morning sickness and nausea. All familiar signs of pregnancy.
The weeks to come would require a lot of willpower and hope
I went in for my 9 week check up and regular sonogram procedure. That is when my Doctor saw something unusual. She found an embryo which was closer to 6 weeks vs. the 9 I had calculated since the first day of my last period.
I was confused.
She went on to say that it can happen that you ovulate twice and therefore a miscalculation can occur.
Phew, something that makes more sense. I was able to breathe again.
But then the next sentence came out of her mouth and my heart dropped. She said it could also mean that I had a missed pregnancy!
What? How could it be a missed pregnancy when I never bled?
apparently miscarriages can occur without bleeding!
I was now holding my breath, unable to speak. My mind was racing and I was desperately trying to deny that a missed pregnancy (miscarriage) was even an option.
I then heard my Dr. say that she would need to wait another week to actually be able to determine the status of this baby.
This waiting game was unlike any other I have ever experienced in my life so far.
The mental tricks that my brain played on me were horrible. One moment I felt happy and convinced that the baby was still growing inside of me. The next minute I would be devastated and crying to my husband that I had lost the baby for sure.
And worse, there were still no actual signs that the baby was gone! No blood. No negative sign on a stick (yes I tried the pregnancy tests again). Nothing.
I had no choice but to let go and just keep waiting.
10 days later I went back for the appointment that would change my life forever. After two different sonograms I received the news that I had missed the pregnancy at around 6 weeks.
And just like that the baby was gone.
My head was spinning and I was in shock. Tears started streaming down my face. I could not understand how this happened. I was healthy right? Was is something I did or didn't do? Was I too stressed?
With all these questions came some routine answers...
I was told that it was nothing I did and that I was healthy and would be able to conceive again when the time was right. I was also told to be grateful since this is mother nature's way of aborting something that would have been wrong in the end.
All words that should feel comforting but instead I felt numb and broken down.
On top of all this, before leaving the Doctor's office I had to decide how I was going to terminate the pregnancy.
I had 3 options (1) wait for mother nature to do her thing, (2) take a pill vaginally, (3) or a D&C procedure in the Doctor's office.
None of these options seemed like a good fit.
I was not ready to let this baby go.
And I was still confused as to why I hadn't bled at all. How was it that for 4 weeks I was still carrying this embryo even after it decided to stop growing?
Somehow I mustered up the ability to ask several questions about the options I had been given and I decided on the pills. To me, it seemed better to take care of it quicker than mother nature but still in the comfort of my own home.
So I left the office with a prescription in my hand, still feeling numb and confused but determined to start the process that evening.
That is when I received the news that the pharmacy was out of these pills. They would need to place an overnight order for them.
The waiting game continued!
Finally, on June 20th the wait was over and I was able to begin the process of letting go, 11 days after my first Doctor's appointment and 4 weeks after the baby had stopped growing inside of me!
Inserting the pills in my vagina was the hardest part of the entire process. In my mind I was still somewhat convinced that the baby could be alive. And I had this horrible thought that I was aborting the baby with these pills. Of course, the ultrasounds and sonograms were communicating different facts, but the mind is really powerful and can create stories that you want to believe more! So, I had to push past these thoughts no matter how difficult and emotional it was.
Through a lot of tears, blood and pain, the harder part of the procedure was done in under two days. Of course the bleeding lasted for around 10 days, a constant reminder of the loss of life inside of me. And at times this made it more challenging to move on and find peace with the loss.
It has now been a little over two weeks since I went through the physical process of letting go of the baby. Mentally I am still recovering. And I imagine that I still have a little ways to go.
What has gotten me through the loss and all the pain? Having an amazing support group (friends, family and my husband) has certainly helped. So has my own physical strength.
But the biggest enabler of being able to move on and see a positive future with another baby in my arms revolves around a four letter word:
The hope that I am talking about isn't just to feel good about my situation or tease myself into thinking things that create high expectations and further disappointment!
Instead, the hope that I rely on is more about willpower. It is about trusting that you have the skills it takes to get you through the challenge and the problem solving ability to figure out what you need to along the way.
According to Psychology Today in an article they Published titled: "The Will and Ways of Hope," hope involves the will to get there, and different ways to get there.
Why is hope important? Without hope you simply give up and tend to stay within your comfort zone. People without hope feel afraid and helpless.
People with hope believe in their capacity to achieve their dreams!
Research has shown many positive outcomes linked to hope; including higher IQ, better ability to generate a lot of ideas, enhanced performance and future success.
Does having hope mean that I won't feel the pain? Of course not! And I don't want to ignore my pain. Having emotion and allowing myself to feel these emotions, whether it be anger, sadness or confusion, is all part of life!
I am not a super woman! I go through difficult things and want to give up just like you.
However, I am lucky to have had a lot of training in psychology and as a result I can usually identify where I am in the experience and the things I have in my power to get through it.
Here are a few things I have learned that I believe can help you get through whatever pain or loss you are going through!
Accept it - You are right here, right now. This is your reality. As much as you want to deny that, realizing you cannot change the moment will help you tremendously with the pain and moving through it gracefully.
Feel it - Accepting does not mean you aren't allowed to feel. Pay attention to your emotions and allow yourself to go through them. Feeling is important so we can eventually get past it. But it does help to talk to people and find ways to get through these emotions with the right support!
Let go of it - Feeling it doesn't mean you have permission to hold on indefinitely. And letting go doesn't mean you won't always remember. Choosing to let go means you aren't replaying the moment in your mind over and over again to the point where you are unable to heal. Healing is important for us to find our happy selves again.
Be grateful for it - This may sound a little funny but anytime we go through pain or something difficult, we are learning and growing. If we can find the strength to look at it from this perspective it can be very refreshing. I also feel that this is where HOPE can really help! To see that this is only a moment in time and our story can change. It also helps to look at your life and all the things you have to be grateful for right now!
In summary, we don't have to like what we are going through! But understanding this is what we have been presented with, allowing ourselves to feel so we can let go and trying to find the lesson and willpower to look forward can help us get through loss more effectively.
At least it has for me! Today I am stronger with myself and I am hopeful that my family will grow! However, I am also letting go of expectations and allowing the universe to present me with the future as it should be. I have truly learned a lot from this experience! On top - letting go of control! This is a daily struggle for me but something I hope I can achieve!
What have you been through recently which required a lot of HOPE? How did you get through it? What did you learn? Please share with me!
Thanks for reading my story. I truly hope it helps you!