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I told a close friend of mine

I told a close friend of mine on the beach a few months back, that one day I’d share what I’ve been going through. Some day when I was ready—when I felt brave enough. I know I don’t have to share this at all, but I’m sharing by choice. Since October is pregnancy loss awareness month, I chose to be brave and share my story today. Writing everything down during this time has been comforting for me. I hope that by sharing my story, it brings comfort to others, lets them know they’re not alone, and opens the door for other women looking for support. So here it goes... **This may be a trigger** 2019 was most definitely a challenging year for me. I don’t want to say it was a “terrible” year, because you have to be grateful for what you have... there were blessings in 2019, and I certainly cannot discount them. However, I think it’s fair to say the dark days outnumbered the sunny days—by far. I thought 2019 started off perfectly when I received a positive result on my pregnancy test. My baby was conceived on New Year’s. How much better of a start can you get? I even had a vivid dream, where it was my baby shower... I was in our community clubhouse, wearing pink, and I was telling people I was due 9/25. Ironically, that was actually my due date. However, my joy was short lived. My levels were not rising the way they should have, the pregnancy wasn’t progressing, but there still was small progress. I remained hopeful. My baby was like The Little Engine That Could. I confided in a coworker after receiving a heartbreaking phone call from my nurse. She asked “Can we pray?” I answered yes, and she took my hands. I cried the entire time. Unfortunately, on 2/10, I naturally miscarried at 4:30 a.m. When I went for my morning scan right after, I started sobbing when the doctor told me my uterus was empty. I knew—but hearing the confirmation hurt. Over the next few days, I cried, I slept... and Mother Nature blessed us all with a snow storm, so luckily I had some extra time off of work to recover physically, mentally, and emotionally. I remained disconnected from social media. Not that I didn’t care about anyone or care to see what was up in their lives; I needed to protect and heal my heart— and I needed to find joy in my life outside of my current situation. When you’re hurting, struggling and feeling down, you have to take care of yourself. Without doing so, how can you start to recover? Some people don’t understand that, but the ones who really love you and are on your side, will. During that snow storm, while resting on the couch, I decided to take a proactive approach. I purchased and read books, I researched what I could do to prevent the likelihood of future miscarriages... what foods to eat, what supplements to take to improve my egg quality , what products to avoid... I totally revamped my personal care and household cleaning regimen and opted for natural products that were free of phosphates and parabens, along with any other harmful chemicals. I highly recommend the book “It All Starts With the Egg” by Rebecca Fett. 2019 was off to a rough start, and I remember telling friends that back then. It was only February.... Fast forward a little bit to mid April, right after my birthday. After the sight of quite a vivid rainbow, encouragement from a dear friend, and believing it was a sign, I took a pregnancy test and received a bright positive on 4/16. Two bright red lines... nothing faint here. My due date was right before Christmas.. the perfect gift anyone could ask for. It was going to be a very special Christmas! My due date was 12/23, then later moved up to 12/16. By this Christmas, I would be a Mom, my husband a Dad, my brother an Uncle, my sister an Aunt of 3, Mom a Grandmother—and my Father, a Grandfather, and the baby could even be born on or around his birthday-12/14-a perfect Christmas gift for him! My heart was filled with a joy that I have never experienced before. Although I had just miscarried two months ago, I remained cautiously optimistic. This time was different. I felt the symptoms... the fatigue, the queasiness, the nausea, food aversions... I love coffee and could no longer stomach it. My green smoothies made my stomach turn. My levels skyrocketed, my first hcg coming in at 11,000...on 4/19 my nurse called me and told me “you are SO pregnant that we need you to come back in tomorrow.” Eventually, we saw a beautiful heartbeat on not one, but several occasions ... there was life. Things looked promising... and things SOUNDED promising, based on my doctors’ words during each appointment, blood draw, and ultrasound. I had another vivid dream. My aunt who is in heaven told me “it’s a baby girl.” On June 4th, almost at the end of my first trimester, my world was shattered and things took a very sudden, quick turn for the worst. I miscarried again. I won’t post the details of that itself, but I can assure you it was tragic. I’ll never forget calling Mom at 7 am and her crying “No, no, no!” over the phone. I’ll never forget, walking into NJ Perinatal, holding a bag that held a container with my baby, clutching it to my chest, and while I was laying down for my ultrasound, mom doing the same—holding her grandchild. Just like in February, when it was confirmed that my uterus was empty, I sobbed uncontrollably. This time, much harder. Although I knew this going in, hearing those words were too much for me. I didn’t want to accept that this was it. My pregnancy was over. It’s a day I will never forget as long as I live. I never knew such pain, heartache, and devastation. I had this plan, this vision.. possible names, colors, themes, goals and dreams for our future and our baby, and it was all suddenly shattered and unexpectedly taken away... We would never know what life would be like with our baby. We would never meet our baby. I was writing a story, and I didn’t get to finish it. The pen was stolen from me. The darkest and saddest days followed... I didn’t go to work for over a week. I couldn’t face anyone. I couldn’t speak to people. I didn’t have the strength to respond to texts with words. I didn’t want to not answer, so I just sent heart ache and crying emojis. They were also friends that I had not yet called to tell I was pregnant, and afterwards, I didn’t really feel like calling them to fill them in. It is no indication of my love for them; it was just too painful. Then there were people who knew I was pregnant, and with seeing my growing baby bump, I knew my students were talking amongst themselves. This was my second loss in less than four months. I was crushed. I cried every single day. I was numb. It just seemed so unfair. With 85% of subsequent pregnancies resulting in a live birth after a miscarriage, and with a 98% chance of a successful pregnancy after hearing and seeing a heartbeat, I thought the odds were in our favor. I repeatedly asked God “Why?” On 6/8, the pain returned, and I ended up in the ER. Again, I won’t go into detail on this one, but the physical pain simply had me screaming. Turns out there was excess tissue. I was in excruciating pain, excessively bleeding that just wasn’t stopping by any means...I had to go to the ER. I was heartbroken, and honestly downright frightened. After an exhausting night for my husband and I, we were finally cleared to go home at 4 am. When I finally mustered the strength and courage to return to work, I cried to my colleagues and my principal. I was afraid I’d break down and cry in front of my students. Surprisingly, I didn’t. But instead, they were the ones who cried. They knew something was up. On the last day of school, they didn’t want to go. I hugged them, consoled them, and wiped their tears. And I felt guilty for not shedding any tears of my own that day. I needed the summer to recover. I was eager for the break, and I felt bad because my eagerness to leave for the summer had absolutely nothing to do with them at all. I had such a great bond with this group, more than I had anticipated. One of my most challenging boys actually asked me, “Mrs. Lee... someone said you miscarried. I told them that wasn’t true, because you would have told us if it was.” My mind raced. I had to think quickly. Most likely, he had overheard an adult conversation out of concern for my well being. He was concerned, and I didn’t want to make him feel bad for asking. So I put my hand on his shoulder and gently replied, “Well, sometimes things happen to people, and they don’t talk about them.” He responded with, “I know what you mean. Something happened to me once and it was embarrassing... so I don’t talk about it either.” I told him, “See? You’re not alone. Everyone has a story...” I think he got it, because before leaving the playground that day, he hugged me tighter than usual. After coming back from vacation in early July, I was informed that my results were in from the testing of our baby. I had to jump through hoops to get someone to tell me the results. My ob office had no idea that the fax was sitting there, and I left a message at NJ Perinatal, eagerly waiting for a return call. I later called them again, tired of waiting, and literally broke down on someone’s voicemail. “Can someone please get back to me with these results?” I begged. “I just want to know what happened to my baby,” I said in between sobs. On 7/10, the following morning, it felt like wounds were torn open again when we finally received our extensive test results from NJ Perinatal. There weren’t any chromosomal issues. It was a baby girl. So many questions lingered. What happened to our baby? Was it my fibroids? If it wasn’t chromosomal, what went wrong with our little girl? Did my body fail me with a healthy embryo? 16 vials of blood were taken from me a few days later, to hopefully get some sort of answer. I also became angry.... angry at my previous doctors for seeing these fibroids on my scans over the years and not recommending anything to be done about them, or not thinking they would interfere with pregnancy. I again, took a break from the online world. Seeing other people’s joy made me happy for them, but it was also painful. My days consisted of waking up to knots in my stomach every day. I’d emerge from my sleep and reality would hit, and it would hit hard. I spent a lot of time by myself, since school was out and my husband was working. Yes, there were once in a while beach days and get togethers with friends, but the heartache was still there with me. My friends knew that. They saw it. People may not have heard from me as much, or at all... but again, when your heart is broken to this extent and the days are so dark and gray, you need to put yourself first if you want to heal. I spent my time visiting Mom and Dad, exercising, taking long walks. I researched clean eating recipes. I sought out an acupuncturist through my doctor and began sessions. I would go to the beach by my house, but seeing everyone with their children made me sad. Tears would form in my eyes, behind my sunglasses. I created a memorial for our baby in one of our spare bedrooms. I placed greeting cards I received during my pregnancy, my baby Lee journal, a stuffed bunny from Mom, a candle, and a photo frame with her ultrasound. Quite often, I would talk to her picture. I would pick up her picture, hold it to my heart, rock her, and cry. I’d often say, “I miss you so much, baby girl. I’d do anything for you to be here. I wish you didn’t have to be taken away.” I also made a garden in honor of our baby girl. I placed a pink angel solar light (Coincidentally, that light reflects on the ceiling above our bed in our second floor bedroom as we sleep at night... I believe that’s a sign ❤️)

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