Today is St. Patrick's Day and I am a very cheesy mother who does all the cliche things, like bake corned beef (even though that's an American tradition, not an Irish one) and wear green and make my kids wear green and do cute clovers in my girls' hair. When I was growing up, my mom did the green food coloring in everything cliche thing - green pancakes, green mashed potatoes, you get the idea. Sometimes it was not very appealing. LOL It's amazing how visual we are about our food. So, today, yes, I have green on and so do my kids. Yes, my older girls have clover hairstyles with green ribbon. Yes, I have a corned beef in the crockpot. And, as a first, I am baking Irish soda bread later on, which is actually very Irish!! I also have a necklace (which I couldn't find this morning and will look again for in a bit) with a 3-leaf clover (or shamrock? I'm not sure which it is). However, I bought the necklace for a different reason altogether.
(I actually had a post about this that I posted right after it happened when I was blogging on Yahoo. However, I missed an email from Yahoo stating that they were deleting all the posts on their old blogging system and if I wanted them, then I needed to save them. I saw it too late. It's gone forever now. It was a very raw, emotional post. I can't even begin to duplicate it and I wish it wasn't lost because it would have been wonderful journaling to have. I remember my pain, but that raw emotion I wrote with then is not the same as I'm writing with now.)
For whatever reason, Heavenly Father seems to have plans for us that we aren't always aware of. For instance, Conner, Katie, this new pregnancy, and a few years ago when I had another pregnancy.
In early 2007, I found out I was pregnant again. I met Ted for lunch at Guadalahonky's with Conner and Syd and I actually told him there. Unfortunately, I also choked on some chips and salsa, so on top of dealing with a "hey honey, we're pregnant" announcement, while still trying to digest that news, then he had to run around the table to do the Heimlich on his wife. It was a little stressful lunch for him that day. He was a little surprised, as was I, but we were good with it. Another baby. OK. What I didn't share with Ted was the nagging feeling that something wasn't quite right.
You know how the instructions on the box of the pregnancy test say to wait 5 minutes before reading the results? I've never had to wait that long. It turns positive right away, every time. However, this time that second line was pretty faint so I did have to wait the 5 minutes.
Well, Ted and I had planned to attend the NASCAR race in Vegas, so we did. We took the trailer down and went to the race, had a little getaway for just us, no kids. While there I had some bleeding and some pain, leading to more uncomfortable, nagging feelings. I hadn't wanted to tell anyone yet, not until I'd been to the doctor, but Ted had told his parents and a few others.
After we got home, I had more bleeding and pain, so I went in to the doctor. He walked in the room and gave me my usual "Congratulations" and hug, but then he stopped while looking at my quantitative hCG results. I knew then that there was something wrong. He sat down and talked with me and said it looked like the numbers weren't quite where they should be and that he wanted me to come back in a few more days for another test to see where the numbers were going. The hCG should rise, but my number was a bit low. They watched the levels over several days and several blood draws, and my numbers were dropping -- I was miscarrying.
I'd known it. But still it was heartbreaking when I finally knew for sure. I sat at home for several days watching my body miscarry what was a surprise baby but was still my baby. I was barely pregnant. It was still developing, so while the medical community definitely did not call it a baby yet, any woman who has ever carried a child in her womb knows that there is an attachment and it's your baby from the beginning. I had known a friend or two and a sister-in-law who had miscarried and I had never comprehended their emotional pain until that moment. It is indescribable.
My doctor had been a bishop, so besides taking care of me from a medical perspective, he counseled me from a spiritual perspective and gave me so much reassurance about this not being my fault, that the Lord knows if it's not the right time for a baby or if things aren't developing the way they should, that he and his own wife had been through this a few times, and even that if that baby didn't come to me, Heavenly Father would make sure it came to one of my children. I really forget now everything he said, but I remember it all being comforting. It didn't take away the pain, but it helped me deal with the loss.
I had some wonderful friends who brought me flowers, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, hugs, thoughts, and more. They helped more than they can know. I remember sitting next to one dear friend at a church basketball game watching our husbands and visiting, and thinking I should tell her I was pregnant and then didn't. I was almost glad I hadn't when I knew I was miscarrying, but when she showed up on my door as emotional as I was, I knew I should have told her.
As shocked as Ted had been, the miscarriage was hard on him too. He brought me a dozen roses, all red, except for one white. I still have them. I keep asking him to make me a shadow box so I can display them somewhere, but it hasn't happened yet. Maybe someday.
The kids had a hard time understanding what was going on, especially Conner - he was not quite 3. Syd was in kindergarten and Savanna was in 2nd grade. Still, they were very sweet and so good. They were quiet when I was resting and behaved for Ted or my mom. I have good kids.
I hadn't realized what a long, agonizing process a miscarriage could be. As hard as it was, though, I really think it was easier than having to deal with a cold, sterile procedure to do it for me. What was hard was having to save the clots that passed for the doctor. That added another level of emotion to it. I had small pieces that passed for a few days and then finally, on St. Patrick's Day, the largest pieces and pretty much the last pieces came. To me, that was my miscarriage. I remember just sobbing and sobbing. I cried a lot over those days, but when it seemed to be over with that, I really lost it. Poor Ted; he didn't know how to deal with all that emotion.
It took a while to stop bleeding, like an extremely painful, extremely heavy, extremely long period, but not like after giving birth. (Sorry, this maybe a lot of information here for some.) And the emotions took a while to deal with too. On my due date that November, I had another meltdown. I knew what day it was as soon as I woke up. I remember sitting on the edge of my bed and just crumpling up and sobbing. Poor Ted.
I don't remember when I bought the necklace, if it was that fall or the next one, but at Swiss Days with my friends I saw the shamrock/clover necklace in glass and I knew I needed it. I don't wear it often, usually only on St. Patrick's Day, but it is my little remembrance for the one that was lost.