I've thought a lot about how I would write this blog post, if at all. I've decided I could take this one of two ways: I could blog only about the funny and the unusual - the stuff that everyone loves to read because it's a dose of reality without being too heavy...or I could blog about my life and everything in it. I could be an authentic blogger who doesn't withhold stories simply because they do not fit into the description of ironic or silly. And I've decided to be authentic. That means that this and the next several blog posts will be difficult for me to write and difficult for you to read. But even in dealing with loss, there is always some humor to be found. And I intend to find it. My purpose is not to re-live the last 72 hours, minute-by-minute...I've done enough of that and feel like it doesn't do any good except to clear my sinuses - and who needs that...I've got a neti pot. So, here's the brief summary followed by what happens next. I am inviting you to go on a journey with me towards recovery, following the yellow brick road and meeting all sorts of characters along the way. There will be adventures and misadventures as I pick my way through the rubble and I expect that we will all laugh at one point or another. I have been in bed for 3 days, but it is not a Tempur-pedic mattress and we don't get HBO so I will have to leave the bedroom soon and see what life has in store for me. Honestly, I have no idea what's around the bend, but I'm getting to the point where I would like to find out. So...off we go.
I was 17 weeks pregnant with our first child. We were preparing to have our 20 week ultrasound where the tech can determine the gender of the baby but we had already decided that we didn't want to know. My family was a-buzz with a new baby in the family and I was starting to feel some movement as I drifted off to sleep each night. On Tuesday morning, my water broke while I was at my husband's office. Having no idea what had happened we rushed to my doctor's office, 45 minutes away. About an hour later, I was beginning to hemorrhage and they admitted me into U.K. hospital. I was dehydrated from a stomach virus on Sunday and a small cup of coffee that morning, so it took 4 nurses and an anesthesiologist over an hour to find a vein for the IV. Two hours later, they induced me. I labored for 7 hours with my mom and my husband at my side and at 11:53, I delivered a silent and non-viable baby boy. They rushed the baby out of the room and then was asked to continue to push to deliver the placenta. An hour later, I delivered the placenta. And then it was over. We all went to sleep and had tortured dreams of what had just happened. They released us Wednesday afternoon with instructions on how to restrict breast milk expression and scribbled prescriptions for pain medication. But I knew that it was just the beginning. Since Wednesday afternoon, I've cried more than I thought a human could cry without shriveling up and blowing away, I've considered checking myself into the psych ward because I thought I was losing my mind, I've watched so much CNN that I now understand that the "24-hour news cycle" does not = 24 hours of different news stories, and I've received hundreds of emails, facebook posts and stories from loved ones who are praying and supporting us. So, that brings us to today.
When Neal was deployed to Kuwait 19 months ago, I sat down and made a list of everything I wanted to do to keep myself busy while he was gone. It included things like:
- make a new dish every week
- learn about really good wine
- learn Italian
- read a book each month
- scrapbook our wedding
- make things grow in my garden
- start attending mass regularly
- have a service to remember our son, Shepherd, and to find solace in the scriptures and in each other
- drink good wine and listen to good music on a fantastic patio at our local vineyard
- snow ski for the first time ever (I can also do this one now because I don't have a job that requires me to be mobile, should my leg -or 2 - end up in a cast. Neal calls this negative thinking, I call this being very realistic)
- have a wine and cheese party and serve (and eat) lots of brie
- sit in the sauna to clear up my skin and cleanse my sinuses
- use our garden tub more for long, hot soaks (I finally took a bath on Thursday and what do ya know - our tub has jets!! It was fantastic. I plan on doing that again).
- hang my punching bag in the garage and knock the holy living hell out of it, over and over again.
- find an episcopal church to try out (ok I can do this while pregnant but why not do it now? I like being Catholic but I also like investing in Trojan...and if Neal ever Madoff-ed me or Governor Sanford-ed me, I would like to have the ability to leave his ass so...so-long Catholic, hello Episcopals.)
- make my garden grow - without gloves. I love dirt under my nails but it is not safe for the mommy-to-be.
- ride the motorcycle until it's so cold that my goosebumps have goosebumps.
- cook my way through Martha Stewart's cookbook. No it's not Julia Child but I have absolutely no intention of de-boning anything. I want to make pretty pies and cupcakes with cat faces and things enveloped in puff-pastry. I have to prepare myself for first birthdays and Halloween parties.
- run and spin and do yoga and lift weights until I am no longer relegated to my boxer shorts. Since I now know that my first trimester will consist of white foods and me lying on the couch watching Golden Girls re-runs, I may as well get ahead of the curve now.
- yes, boys and girls...I'm bringing back Champagne Friday. Hooah.
- get a tattoo. When I was in the hospital, the nurse put a picture of a butterfly on my door to alert other hospital staff that although I was in labor and delivery, I would not actually be enjoying any of the fruits of my labor so don't say anything stupid like "would you like to see your baby?" So, sometime in the next 3 months, I will be getting a blue butterfly tattoo on the inside of my wrist in memorial of our son, Shepherd.
- I have ordered a book full of other women's stories of miscarriage - from the beginning of pregnancy to stillbirth and I have ordered a devotional book specifically for mothers who have miscarried. I will be working my way through both of those.
- and of course drink lots of wonderful coffee and espresso. No more decaf for me. Load me up and watch me vibrate!
Rest in peace, our sweet Nolan Shepherd Miller, 17 weeks in the womb. You are missed and you are loved always.