When we started Belively&Co., we wanted it to be a safe place for moms, dads and caretakers. We share family activity ideas, recipes, workouts and last but certainly not least: real and unfiltered life stories. Topics include postpartum, motherhood, the challenges of being a parent, relationship stories and so much more.
Never did I imagine that I would also go through one of the hardest times in my life right as we were launching the site. I have had this in drafts for quite some time but feel compelled to share now in hopes that it could maybe help someone else.
On November 5th, 2019, what was supposed to be a routine 8-week ultrasound during my second pregnancy, turned out to be an appointment finding no heartbeat. This 2nd baby I wanted so much stopped growing. On top of that, my body somehow missed it. In other words, my body didn’t even realize that the baby stopped growing so I still had all the symptoms of pregnancy, including all day nausea.
The doctor attempted to make jokes as he sat there explaining to me some of the worst news of my life. It felt insensitive and curt. Luckily, I had my kind husband there to do the talking and ask the questions because for once in my life, I was at a loss of words. I could not feel my body.
When I got in the car, I cried so hard I could not put the key in the ignition. Through sobs, I texted my family the news and I APOLOGIZED. I’ve found that as a mom, when something goes wrong, we often immediately think, “Was it something I did?” Brutal.
My sweet doctors at Paoli OBGYN called me immediately when they received the news and gave me three options: 1. let the miscarriage happen on its own, something that could take weeks (horrifying), 2. a medication where you’re basically glued to your couch bleeding profusely (horrifying) or 3. getting D&C surgery the very next day (also horrifying). I went with the last choice. The first two seemed too vague and unpredictable.
Everything began feeling like it was happening way too fast. I went from 9 weeks pregnant with a June due date, daydreaming about the beautiful summer and life we were going to have as a family of 4, to losing my chance at that in one appointment. On top of that, the surgery was worse than I ever expected and coming home was basically the same as recovering from postpartum… including the XL pads… without your precious newborn baby.
The thing is, I know the statistics. My rational mind understands that it happens to 1 in 4 pregnancies. I tried using these statistics to help me accept the outcome. I even thought to myself – so many are going through so much worse than you and you have a happy and healthy son – your pain and feelings shouldn’t be as bad. Trying to minimize it felt like the easiest thing to do in order to keep moving.
I went back to work, I started exercising pretty much right away, I saw my friends and told them what happened to me, all while pushing deep feelings such as guilt, sadness, loss, physical pain, shame and anger, aside.
The holiday season then arrived and with it some more bad news. My first D&E surgery didn’t take and I had to go in on Christmas Eve morning to receive a second. Hours later, I found myself putting on a dress for my in-law’s holiday party, telling myself that I would not let this miscarriage take over Christmas with my excited 2-year-old. I was there for one hour, 45 minutes of it I spent crying in my in-law’s bedroom. I then spent the next few days trying to enjoy the holiday with my family.
Even though I was very much still hurting, I decided 2020 was a fresh start & everything in 2019 was going to go away. I dove right into the Belively launch and it helped a bit – for a little while. Around that same time, I had to start seeing a Pregnancy Loss specialist because I still wasn’t feeling right physically; I had to get ultrasounds and my blood drawn every other week, because something was wrong, and they couldn’t figure out what it was. (That’s always fun). There was a lot of pressure to get a third surgery, but I KNEW that neither my body nor my brain could handle that. The surgery came with the potential for infertility and even fatal blood loss. I opted out and asked if it was possible for my body to finally normalize on its own. It couldn’t fail me again.
Fail me, it did not. It took a month or so, but the ultrasounds/appointments/blood tests were less frequent and the part of my brain that spent its time in constant worry about what was wrong with me, and how long was it going to affect my parenting and work — was now empty. And then entered ANXIETY and SADNESS and GRIEF. It couldn’t be! 4 months after the initial news?
I was so so exhausted, but I knew it was time to get to work. What helped me? Therapy, talking about it to others, normalizing it, not hiding it, exercise, writing and creating Belively, meditating and the love from my family and friends. There is one friend that I believe fate made me run into at the doctor’s office right before I received the bad news. She helped me through the darkest moments by helping me understand what was happening by sharing her story. In turn, this brought us so much closer and and I could begin to heal.
This may not help everyone, but know that I am here to listen if anyone has gone through this or something similar. In some instances, telling someone what I went through in turn helped them open up which made both of us feel less alone – and it’s beautiful when that happens.
To be honest, I’m still sad sometimes. I have way more happy moments than sad ones, which I am sure has been tough to keep up with for everyone during such a difficult time in the world, but if there’s one thing that my miscarriage, its complications, the virus and the current climate have taught me — it is that life is really freaking fragile and everyone is going through something! So, be kind. Be infinitely grateful. Be honest. Learn. Grow. Help others. We can’t do this without taking care of our own mind, body and soul first – and we are privileged to be able to do so.
Our due date was June 12th, 2020, and I was lucky enough to be sitting on a beach in Cape Cod. Sadness flooded me, but this time, looking out at my husband, sister and son laughing and playing on the beach, I knew everything I needed & wanted at that very moment was right in front of me. Anything that comes after this will be delicious icing on the cake…