I wrote my last blog post before going in for a D&C last Friday. The procedure itself was simple and quick. I “fell asleep” with the warm hand of my OB holding mine and woke up from general anesthesia feeling an inevitable emptiness but some degree of peace. At home, I ate a piece of toast, crawled into my own bed and woke up four hours later. What greeted me were your comments and emails of sympathy, empathy, and heart. There were a lot of them, some from people I have known for decades and some from readers that I had never heard from before, but I read every single one before I got up to face the afternoon.
The resounding message was this: You are not alone.
I was nervous about writing about miscarriage, but once it was out there, I felt nothing but support. It made me wonder why we hesitate to share this kind of hurt. It is personal, and it does seem strange to tell the whole world that I’m grieving. But the world is full of hurt. What’s wonderful is that so many people are willing to share a bit of mine – even the smallest bit – and enough people doing that really does make me feel better. I didn’t anticipate that writing about miscarriage here would be so therapeutic. The writing itself is actually sort of painful, in a good way I guess, but sharing the experience has been healing.
The physical recovery from the D&C has been easier than I expected. I haven’t been in pain. I have just felt a sort of internal ache around my uterus and cervix. I have taken a couple of doses of ibuprofen and maybe moved a bit slower for a day or so, but otherwise it has been an uneventful recovery. I’m thankful for that, and I know that not everyone has such a quick recovery.
On the day of the procedure, the afternoon streamed with sunlight, unusual for this season in Oregon. I took the dogs for a meandering walk around the neighborhood to soak it up. We wandered through a community garden, quiet for the winter. Some beds still held the remains of summer: Tomato cages supporting big plants, still heavy with unripe fruit, leaves brown and curled. Other beds had been cleaned and covered in damp fall leaves for the winter. The gardener knows that these empty beds are not barren but just resting for the growing season. They are full of the possibility of life, just waiting for the spring, when the sun signals that it is a good time to grow.
The next day, I took a train to Portland to visit a friend for a night. We’d had this weekend planned for several months, and even when I learned that the only day the D&C could be scheduled last week was the Friday before our weekend, I held the date.
This was my first night ever away from Cee, after living every day and night for the last 2+ years revolving around her. Since the miscarriage, I’ve treasured my time with Cee more than ever, so it may seem strange that I would choose to walk away from her during this most vulnerable time.
I have to say, though, the night away was really good. It was the first time my friend and I had spent time together without our kids since they were born. It was nice to be able to finish conversations and not have to plan our activities around naptimes and bedtimes. We went to restaurants that were decidedly grown-up. We had massages. We slept in. We finished coffee before it got cold. We went to a yoga class.
I missed Cee, I really did. To be honest, my friend and I talked about our kids quite a bit this weekend. They are the center of our lives – what else can you expect? My husband let Cee leave a voice mail message for me, and I listened to it five times before I fell asleep and again several times in the morning. I missed Cee, but not so much that it hurt. And I know that she missed me, but she did great with her daddy for a night.
The weekend was good for me, even during this time and maybe especially during this time, because it reminded me that there is more to me than motherhood. I hadn’t had a massage since I was pregnant with Cee, and I can probably count on one hand the number of times that I’ve really slept in since she was born. And that’s OK. I haven’t felt deprived of those things. For the most part, I have relished the transition to motherhood. But my entire being need not to be tied into my role as a mother.
That’s a good thing to remember in the wake of this lost pregnancy. I’m still here. That pregnancy is gone, and I feel that I have lost something important, but I haven’t lost myself. Having a massage and practicing yoga in the wake of that physical change, with the emptiness following the D&C, it was a reminder that there is more to my body than my uterus.
I have been practicing yoga, off and on, for the last 13 years. It was a vital part of my life during my pregnancy with Cee and in the first 6 months postpartum. Since moving to Oregon, my practice has become more sporadic. I haven’t really found a studio that I love. I had vowed to finally do that with this pregnancy and had been making an effort to try a new class each week, but the early pregnancy symptoms were guiding me towards more gentle classes.
This class last weekend was physically demanding. Moving through the poses, I had to really focus on my balance and alignment. I struggled to control movements and to keep breathing through difficult poses. But the challenge felt good. It put me completely in my body, focusing my mind on the task at hand rather than the events of the last few weeks.
Then we moved into pigeon pose and rested there for a minute or two. The teacher came and aligned my back leg so that it could relax more and balanced my hips so that they could melt into the floor. Then, quiet. In stillness, I was aware of the emptiness in my abdomen, pressed against my front leg and the floor. The hurt was suddenly there, in that pose, and tears welled up. I longed to start moving again, to do something more difficult, to sweat, to raise my heart rate so that I couldn’t feel the hurt. But we stayed a while longer.
Stillness is not easy to find when you are trying to keep up with a toddler. And this is why I think it was good for me to be away for a few days. Sometimes it takes stillness to feel hurt, and it takes hurt to heal. There’s no way around it. My challenge is to find my moments of stillness and to see the sweetness in them.