Sep 21, 2014

Peace

This morning, I had a moment.

Like most moments in my life, it wasn't a big fanfare, or some kind of celebration, but rather a quiet realization - an everyday kind of moment, if you will.

I came downstairs and opened the blinds to our back doors. The sunlight greeted me, and as I leaned down to smell the hydrangea on the table, I was filled with such a sense of peace. I grabbed my camera to see if I could try and capture this scene, and as I was snapping photos, my eyes started to blur.

I put down the camera and let those tears spill over. For the first time since my pregnancy, I was at peace.

I sat at the table, staring at these flowers, letting myself remember. Remembering my pregnancy, remembering it ending, and remembering the all-consuming grief that followed it.

I don't know that you ever "get over" having a miscarriage. Just when you think you're doing better, something unexpected triggers you and you feel like you're back at square one.

But for the first time since we lost Cece, I felt peace.

Maybe it's because we're finally in a place that we love and can be open to change, or maybe it's because I did the work and let myself grieve.

But this moment, this tiny little moment, almost overwhelmed me. There were so many occasions this year where I couldn't imagine what later would look like, and today, I'm here.

I will always carry her with me. Moving on doesn't mean forgetting.

But my heart is filled with peace. And I couldn't be happier about it.

Sep 17, 2014

Savor

A year ago I was celebrating a "milestone" birthday and planning what ended up being the most fabulous of midnight dinners.

Tonight I'll be relaxing with a couple girlfriends, and then maybe watching some Netflix before I head to bed. (Ben and I are celebrating this weekend).

I'm ready for a low-key birthday this year, and more importantly, to appreciate where I am in life.

So much of this past year has been planning or hoping or wishing or dreaming. It's taught me that tomorrow is not a given.

I want to collapse into my bed at the end of the day, exhausted in the best way, by the experiences I had. I want to revel in the little moments and celebrate the big ones.

So hello, thirty-one. Let's savor it.

Aug 28, 2014

The in between

*Dusts off blog*

Why yes, I am alive! I could give you all these excuses about why I haven't been blogging, but ehh, I just haven't; August is kind of my blah month. I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things here soon, but in the meantime, let's have some tidbits, shall we?

*First and foremost: Do I still love our house more than any other place we've lived? Yup. Even when I do forget things on a different level and run up and down the stairs three times in a row. (Because hello - stairs!) We are just about settled with the exception of a couple random boxes here and there, and have even added a few new pieces to our home, including this sideboard which I am OBSESSED with.
I call her the Grey Lady.
*I've been reading the crap out of some romance novels, and there's a series that takes place in and around a veterinary clinic and omg, I need all the animals. All of them. Like now. Puppy fever is a real thing.

*I found this post called Bad Math and it is by far the best thing I've read about miscarriage. Go read it now. Seriously.

*August is my blah month. Everyone's all, "soak up the end of summer," and I'm like "screw you August, autumn is coming!" Why yes, I have already had a Pumpkin Spice Latte. I regret nothing.
*Speaking of fall, Kelly shared this video with me and I couldn't stop laughing! I couldn't embed the actual video here, but trust me you want to watch it. #DontFallforFall

*And last, but certainly not least, I am Co-Chairing Resolve's 2015 D.C. Walk of Hope! I am thrilled to be working with Resolve and Julie (the fabulous chair for the past few years) in this way - much more to come!

What's been going on in your world this month?

Aug 14, 2014

I refuse to sink

For anyone who has fought a battle, has lost a battle, or is currently still fighting...carry on, warrior.
 
I've breathed heartbreak, sadness, and despair.
 
I refuse to sink.
 
 
My heart shatters and rebuilds,
 
I refuse to sink.
 
 
Life is messy and full of loss, 
 
I refuse to sink.
 
 
The future is terrifying and unknown,
 
I refuse to sink.
 
 
Hope is my anchor, and love is my soul.
 
There's strength in my weakness, and a beauty in my brokenness,
 
For I refuse to sink.

Aug 10, 2014

On the day you were due

"I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart." - e.e. cummings



Dear Cecelia,

Today is the day we might have brought you home.

There were times in the past nine months where I wanted to rush to this day, and times I dreaded its arrival.

People talk about feeling protective of their children - I get that now. I want you to be remembered - so I advocate, I walk, and I share our story. There was a time I was afraid I would forget you, but I know now how impossible that would be. You made me a mother, and a mother never forgets her child.

Now when I talk about you, my emotions aren't always bubbling to the surface as they once were. But you are always on my mind, and forever in my heart.

Your Dad and I didn't want today to be just a "regular" day, so we're going to do new things, spend time together, and most of all, honor you.

It's not about dreaming who you would have been, or what you might have looked like, but rather celebrating how you changed us. 
 
We have a bigger capacity for love now, and yes, we've also known more heartbreak, but if given a choice of carrying you for nine weeks with the same outcome, or not carrying you at all? 
 
I would choose you every time.

We love you Cece. You were a part of me. You are a part of me.

And I will never stop wanting you with us.

Absolutely all my love,
Mom

Jul 30, 2014

What they don't tell you about having a miscarriage

I'd like to caveat this post by saying each experience is different, but there are definitely things I've learned, that I think should be talked about.

1. Your body changes. You hear that "pregnancy changes things" but you don't realize that applies to you, because you didn't carry a pregnancy to term. Hormone balances, how your body responds to things - all of this can change, and then you spend months trying to figure out why you react differently to something, when you've never had that problem before.

2. The word miscarriage is misleading. It sounds like it's your fault - you didn't "carry" correctly. Plus, the word is so mainstream, it doesn't accurately reflect the hell you go through. A miscarriage sounds like something to be sad about for a little while. I prefer the term "pregnancy loss," because that's what it is - a loss.

3. A miscarriage is a very physical thing. I was amazed at how traumatic this was on my body. I had to have surgery, had cramping and bleeding for a few weeks after, and was visiting my doctor's office for the next month and a half so they could verify a decrease in my hormone levels through blood draws. If you don't have a d&c and have to endure a physical miscarriage it's an extremely painful experience - hours (or days) of bleeding.

4. A miscarriage IS a loss. As I said earlier, this is part of why I don't like the word miscarriage. Whether it took years, or you got pregnant the first month you started "trying," the baby you were excited about - the one you'd hoped and prayed for, and already formed dreams about - is dead. The heartbeat has stopped, and you're either being prepped for surgery to remove your child, or your body is expelling it in an incredibly painful way. Yes it's physical, but it is so emotional - your body didn't do what it was built to do, and there can be all types if guilt and grief associated with it.

5. Triggers for grief may not always make sense. I expected certain things to be hard, like my first time going to Target after my d&c, where I tried to avoid pregnant women and the baby section. But finding myself in tears after talking about a trip was surprising. (I later realized I got emotional because if I'd still been pregnant, we wouldn't have been able to travel). Grief is not linear, and sometimes it's like a boomerang - fading away, getting better, until it comes flying back and knocks you flat. Be gentle with yourself as you try to get up; eventually you'll stand, but even kneeling can be huge progress.

6. You can feel happy, but still be sad. A favorite quote of mine is, "Saying you can't be sad because someone else has it worse is like saying you can't be happy because someone else has it better." If you have a social media presence, you will not be able to avoid pregnancy announcements. They might sting or seem unfair, but you can be absolutely happy for someone else, yet still devastated about your loss. Like their status, tell them congratulations if you want, and know it's okay to stop following their news feed for awhile - you do not need to see their weekly bump shots if you're not up for it.

7. Practice self-care. If your best friend where going through this, what would you say to her? What would you do for her? Do that for yourself. It's easy for a moment when you're feeling down - a pedicure or a trip to Starbucks can be a fun pick-me-up, but self-care is more than that. When you're sitting on your couch sobbing about what might never be, let yourself sob. Don't block those feelings. Allow yourself to cry, and after awhile text a friend, or put on a favorite TV show - something that's a comfort to you.

8. The only way out of grief is through it. I can't tell you how long you'll be grieving. I can't promise you won't be sad every year on the day of your d&c, or the day you were due. I can't assure you there won't always be a little part of you that is sad, and surfaces from time to time. But I can tell you, if you do the work - if you face your grief, and let yourself feel all the feelings, eventually, it becomes less raw, and more bearable.

Jul 28, 2014

The happiest of moves

We are in. We are done done done with one-bedroom apartments. We have been in this house for less than 72 hours and I am already amazed at how we had this fit into such a small space for so long. I'm just...breathing easier because we are not so cramped. Moving is exhausting, and messy, and stressful, but at the end of the day, we're just so happy with where we are now.

Without further ado, our move, according to my iPhone.

First picture in the house!
Why yes, we do have a white picket fence.
Of course books are unpacked. Priorities, people.
After we turned in our apartment keys!
Ben gave me this rose and said, "happy new home babe!" (This guy, he's a keeper).
Unpacking...
More unpacking...
Happy, but tired.
We actually made a lot of progress this weekend - all of the rooms are unpacked at least 60% (or more!), and we even have some things hung on the walls.

There was a 24-hour period where we didn't have internet or cell phone service, but I've since blocked that out, because let's focus on the happy, right?

Bear with me as we're still getting unpacked - I'll try to pop in every few days or so to check in.

How was your weekend?

Jul 23, 2014

Lessons from a one-bedroom apartment

We are on the cusp of moving, and I'm so excited I can almost taste it! There is so much I will not miss about this place (loud neighbors, parking passes, loud neighbors, not a lot of space, loud neighbors...), but there have been some fun memories, so in case any of you out there are still in small living spaces, I give you a handful of random things I've learned. (Sounds appealing, no?)

*You can vacuum the whole place in less than 20 minutes. This might be the thing I miss the most. If you have an outlet that will let your vacuum stretch, you may even be able to beat this time. This means you can wait until half an hour before someone comes over to vacuum, and you'll still have time to relax before they arrive.

*Go up with your space. We have a decent amount of furniture in our apartment, but the areas that don't seem quite as cramped are the ones where we have shelves on the wall. Getting things off the floor makes a world of difference.

*If you think your neighbors are loud, just wait until the next set of people move in. Oh my gosh, I could tell stories. Let's just say we have been woken up by all kinds of activities, and it makes me long for the days where an active dog above us was the biggest complaint.

*Put your dresser in your closet. We have been spoiled with a huge walk-in closet the past few years, and putting a dresser in the closet helped more than we expected; it gave us more space in our bedroom, and I don't have to worry about waking up Ben if I'm debating on outfits in the morning.

*You can still host events. It's all about perspective. (She says, as she's leaving). You may have to get creative with arranging furniture, but it can be done. We had 16 people for our midnight dinner!

*Being in a small space can be fun. This may sound weird, but I'm going to miss not being able to see Ben all the time. His studio is next to our kitchen and about two steps from our living room/dining room. I'll curl up on the couch with a book, and he'll be at his table drawing, and every so often we'll just look over at each other and smile. As excited as we are to have a few more rooms (and stairs!) in the new place, I'll miss that closeness, and expect we'll put some kind of chair in his studio for me.

*It is what you make it. I can complain until I'm blue in the face about this apartment, but where we live is expensive and this was the best deal for us for many reasons. I don't believe you have to own something to make it feel like a home, just as you don't necessarily need a ton of space either. Will it be nice to have more room? Of course. But we've lived in a one-bedroom apartment for seven years - you just learn how to make it work. (Plus, it gives you great stories to laugh about later. "Remember when it sounded like our neighbors dropped dead bodies every night?")

Have you ever lived in a small space? Do you prefer that, or do you like to spread out?

Jul 18, 2014

Find what works for you

I'm lost in a haze of boxes and packing right now, but wanted to pop in and link to Lisa's blog. Lisa has a series of infertility interviews and I'm honored to be featured today!

Head over to her blog to check it out - and thanks again for having me Lisa!

Jul 9, 2014

Oh just everything

I seriously cannot handle anything more than blurbs right now. Maybe one day I will be cognizant enough to write a post with actual paragraphs, and topics that are thought out, but for now? Blurbs.

*Let's start with the good. We are moving! Locally, and not even far from where we are now, but you GUYS. This will be the first time in our married life that Ben and I will not live in a one-bedroom apartment. That's right, by the time we move we will have lived in a one-bedroom apartment for seven years. We are moving to the cutest little townhouse with (wait for it) three bedrooms. Three bedrooms! And stairs! I don't know what we're going to do with ourselves other than run around and play Marco/Polo to find each other.

*I'm still loving my new tank top. Between that and my favorite maxi dress, I'm pretty sure Ben thinks I don't have any other clothes.

*We are headed on a quick weekend trip soon to see some extended family (because moving isn't enough to take on in one month, we need to throw a road trip in there too), and I'm really looking forward to just relaxing and being in the moment.

*Holy mother of emotions. July and August are going to be rough. This time a year ago, Ben and I were getting ready for our first IUI - so full of hope and ready for joy. The beginning of August marks when we learned our first IUI didn't work, and then about a week later we hit my due date for Cece. Nora and I decided to call all these benchmarks "griefstones," and I am not looking forward to them.

*Today is actually six months since my d&c. It seems cruel that there are details about my pregnancy that are starting to fade, but I can remember everything about that day; the weather on the drive to the office, that names of the doctors and nurses, how I cried and told Ben I was scared but what I really meant was "I'm sad." Tomorrow is a month from my due date. I knew it would be harder as we got closer to that day, but I was doing so much better so when the emotions hit, they really hit

I came home tonight to a package from Kelly, and a note that read: "Dear Becky, I was going to send you a love letter this week but what more can I say than I haven't already said? Instead I'm sending you some books because they are always good distractions and you have sent me many books I've loved. I hope I can return the favor. I'm convinced that your 'story' is not over. Love you!"
I'd already been fighting back the tears today, but this just pushed me over the edge. I've said it before and I will say it again - God bless the blogging universe and the people it has brought into my life.

This post was a little all over the place (um, that's what blurbs are for, right?) but before I sign off, thank you. Thank you for reading, thank you for cheering Ben and me on, and thank you for being such an incredible support. Whether you've commented on every post or not at all, I appreciate all the love.