Memes and Profile Pictures

Over the last few years several organizations have created memes about miscarriage, especially ones proclaiming “I am the 1 in 4″ (because 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in loss). There have also been some images designed to be used as profile pictures on facebook. This year The Amethyst Network has joined in and created several new images. We especially have tried to fill the gap of offering images about miscarriage support as well as miscarriage awareness.
We have these images on our facebook page and pinterest as well. We hope that you will consider posting, reposting, pinning, repinning, or sharing these with others.

 

Living Like Hydrangeas

This summer we visited my husband’s aunt (along with many other friends and family members) during our summer vacation. On the way into her home I saw a beautiful hydrangea and had to snap a picture.

On the way out of the house I noticed that same hydrangea, now with the sun shining on it. It looked so different, yet still so beautiful in a new way, that I took another picture.

Three days and two hundred miles later I saw another hydrangea in a yard near my parents house. It was a brilliant, vivid blue, quite different from the pinky-purple of the one at our aunt’s house.

Here is the thing about hydrangeas: like any flower, they may look different in one lighting or another. But hydrangeas do something more. They bloom in different colors depending on the soil where they are planted. In acidic soil, the flowers are blue, in more alkaline soil, they will be pink. And they come in a dozen shades in between too. It is not a matter of different strains of the flower either, because if you don’t like the shade of your hydrangea you can amend the soil and get it to change color. I have been attracted to hydrangeas ever since I learned this about them.

 

Why am I sharing this here? Aside from the excuse to post some pretty pictures, I do actually have a good reason for discussing hydrangeas

Like these flowers–like any flower–we do not really have a choice about where we are planted, or about what experiences we will have in our lives. In some lights or circumstances we will appear one way, and in other lights or circumstances we will look different. But hydrangeas are something special because of how they react specifically to the soil where they are planted. Some plants will die if their soil is too acidic or too alkaline, but hydrangeas simply adjust. They take what they are given and become a new kind of beautiful.

I think we all have the potential to be like hydrangeas. Initially we may mourn when we realize that we cannot be the same as someone else’s kind of beautiful, or someone else’s kind of happy. But our life experiences–where we are planted–don’t allow us to be the same as those who grow in other soil. Ours is to work with the soil we have, and to realize that we have our own beauty, our own goodness, our own kind of loveliness. We should not be jealous because we are different, we should be proud because we have bloomed where we were planted.

Did It Count?

A couple of months ago my period was 6 days late (which is unusual for me), and I began to wonder if I was pregnant. My husband and I are currently using preventative measures so I sincerely doubted that I was pregnant, but of course there is always that small chance…

And then my bleeding began and part of me was relieved (because a pregnancy would be a very complicated thing for us right now), but part of me was also distressed. You see, in the last decade I have had several chemical pregnancies… At least, I think I have.

Maybe baby?

At those times I was trying to get pregnant, and wanting to be pregnant. So if my period was a day or two late (or even if it wasn’t), I would fixate on every little thing and try to figure out if it was a pregnancy symptom. As soon as I was a day late (and sometimes the day before) I took pregnancy tests, but I never got a positive result. But I convinced myself that it was just too early and that in a few days I would take another test and see those two little pink lines…

And then the bleeding began, much like a period except that I knew it was an early miscarriage. So then I mourned. Mourned the dream that had barely begun… or had it?

My recent experience suddenly called into question the validity of all those prior experiences. I am sure I wasn’t pregnant this time, so was I really pregnant those other times? The physical process this time and those times was almost identical… Maybe those “early pregnancy symptoms” were just PMS. Maybe my chemical pregnancies weren’t really pregnancies at all. Maybe I was grieving over nothing all those times…

I felt very conflicted over this. I HAD grieved before, but if I was grieving over not-an-actual-miscarriage then did it count? If my loss wasn’t actually a loss, then was my grief valid?

I was talking with a friend (who happens to also be involved with TAN) and explained to her how I was feeling confused and upset over this. She taught me something important.
“You grieved” she said. “It doesn’t matter whether the physical experience was a miscarriage or not, because the grief was real, you experienced the emotional process, and that is valid.”

And so I would say to all mothers who have had an early loss, or a loss that they felt in their gut even though there was no proof. Your feelings–no matter what they are–are valid feelings. We each have different experiences, and we each have different feelings. But what you feel is legitimate, regardless of the circumstances.

April Blog Circle ~ Blessings, Magic, Tender Mercies, Grace…

 

As part of our efforts at sharing stories and creating healing circles, we are launching blog circles here at TAN. Each month we will post a brief message introducing the theme for the month, and inviting you to participate in the circle. All you need to do is put your name and link into the Mr Linky widget at the end of this post, and your blog post can be included in the circle. Posts are welcomed throughout the month (and beyond if you write something later and want to share). We hope you will participate.

 

A couple of weeks ago I talked here about my 2nd miscarriage.  It was a traumatic experience that left me upset enough to miscarry alone at home after that.  Even that is better then the humiliation I experienced on that cold, sterile table for my ultrasound to find out my baby was gone.  And the cold, sterile response and care by my doctor afterwards.  I was devastated.  This baby I wanted so much was gone.  I had already pictured this little person in my life.

Through this loss I found a miscarriage support message board.  And through this miscarriage I found the blessings, magic, tender mercies, grace of the experience.  A group of friends who also miscarried in March, April and May of 1998.  All of us were due in November of 1998.  We formed a tight knit little e-mail group, called ourselves the Topaz Club, and there I met some of my best friends.  We are still friends to this day.  In the past 15 years we have had other losses, welcomed new babies, seen each other through divorce and other heartaches, and celebrated each others joys.  Through our grief and pain of loosing our babies grew 15 years of friendships, with members of the Topaz Club living all over the world.

Blessings, Magic, Tender Mercies, Grace,  whatever you call it, there are these moments, times and experience of light in the darkness.  Sometimes they are very small.  Just a moment where you see a little bit of magic, or a blessing wrapped in the grief.  Sometimes it is significant, like close friendships made with people you may never have had the chance to meet otherwise.

For our Blog Circle this month (April) please share your own experiences of grace, tender mercies, magic, blessings,  or gifts that your miscarriage has given you.  If you have not experienced a miscarriage, please feel free to participate.  We all know someone who has miscarried and therefore have been touched by miscarriage in some way.


A loss confirmed

Today a friend of mine found out her baby died.  A missed miscarriage is what they call it.  She had mentioned sitting in the ultrasound room, half naked, waiting for the doctor to come in.  I remembered it.

It was 15 years ago this week.  I can’t believe it has been that long.  I had started bleeding heavily.  I went to the doctor for some blood work.  I continued bleeding and cramping throughout the weekend.  On monday morning we went to the hospital.  It was to rule out an ectopic pregnancy as I had been having a lot lower left quadrant pain with it all.

And this began one of the most humiliating experiences of my life.

At that point they required a full bladder for an early ultrasound.  I sat in the ultrasound room, stripped down, half naked in a hospital gown.  I was still bleeding heavily, and therefore bleeding all over the table.  And I had to go to the bathroom.

The person who did the ultrasound said just about nothing.  I tried commenting and small talk and got not much more than grunts out of him.  When it was over he said I had to see my doctor for results.  They handed me a pad and sent me to my doctors office where I waited.

The baby was gone.

But there was no compassion from the doctor.  She just said “It happens all the time to lots of women.  I had one and my nurse had two.”  But I found no comfort in that.  I just felt humiliated and broken.

The experience was so bad, that I never went back to the doctor for another miscarriage.  They couldn’t do anything anyway.  I lost the baby anyway.  And why sit through that, bleeding all over their tables.  In cold sterile rooms, talking to cold, sterile people.

And that is what it was.  Sterile.  Cold.  Humiliating.