June 8, 2017
I imagined this day would look differently. I dreamt of holding a newborn baby boy or girl on this day. I anticipated the growth of a belly, embracing stretch marks and all. I longed for a nursery. For this child to one day call me Mommy.
But instead I spend this day typing these words on a screen.
Sitting in the very coffee shop that I experienced what I later realized as excruciating labor pains.
Whether anyone on the outside can tell, a child named Avery made me a momma. Although on earth this baby will never call me momma, but when I am reunited in Heaven one day, I can imagine the most phenomenal reunion.
Here's our story:
It was a Fall day. Crisp, beautiful weather. I had gone about my day like normal and was surprised by starting my period off-schedule. Due to some issues with the birth control I had previously used, I hadn’t had a period in quite a while. That Thursday I started bleeding. I had cramps all night Thursday and Friday night and couldn’t sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time. I tried to make the pain subside with a heating pad and medicine, but nothing seemed to work. I wasn't alarmed until Saturday morning.
My husband, Colton, and I were having our usual weekend coffee date and I had this excruciating pain that felt like the worst cramps I've ever experienced in my life. While sitting in this coffee shop, doubled over, I started crying right there. Confused as what was happening to my body, the pain eventually subsided a while after when I took a few ibuprofen. We went home and as I went to the bathroom I saw something unexpected come out of me and I grew more confused and terrified. I'll save you the details, but I will say, I knew something was terribly wrong.
I had no prior knowledge about miscarriages or what they look like. I just knew in my heart that something was very wrong and I didn't know the words to say to Colton. We were minutes from going to our friend’s birthday party and as I was in the bathroom Colton was hollering at me to hurry up because we needed to leave. I married a man who loves to be on-time! I asked him to stop rushing me and give me a minute. I've never been as punctual as my stud of a husband. This wasn't out of the norm.
I sat in the bathroom floor unsure of how to tell my husband what just came out of me. I felt like a part of me had died. I looked in the mirror and my face was white. I regrettably flushed and stumbled out. I told Colton I was feeling very concerned about what just came out of me and thought it may have to do with the pain I felt at the coffee shop. He assured me that I could talk to my mom or talk to my close friends at the birthday party about my concerns and maybe they would know more about it. I told him I didn't even want to go to the party anymore and he assured me that I would have a good time. I pouted in the car the whole way there. The last place I wanted to be was a party on the day that I had a life expelled from my body.
It's a sobering moment when you realize that you are pregnant at the same time you realize you are no longer pregnant.
I had no idea I was pregnant. I showed no signs that I knew of. What could I have done? The questions in my head started swarming.
We go to the party and I was able to confide in a couple of my closest friends as they comforted me and told me they were sure everything was going to be okay.
So the moments of uncertainty and confusion settle in. I send my mom and older sister the picture I took and to the best of their knowledge they both believed that it was tissue from a baby and I had a miscarriage.
I couldn't accept it.
I had to ask a professional. I called my gynecologist the next morning and after speaking with my doctor and describing what happened she agreed that it was a miscarriage.
I wasn't okay. My heart has never felt such anguish. This shattered my heart. I felt like part of me had died that day. Why did my body fail me? Could I have done something differently?
The questions made way in my heart as the grief dug its claws in deep.
When it came to grieving, I had absolutely no time to process what my body and heart went through. I had to go back to school like normal and pretend to be the oh-so bubbly princess Kindergarten teacher that I typically am. I had to fake it. So I go on, put on a forced insincere smile and go about my normal day. Dancing around with five-year olds, singing the ABC's and teaching every day when I had absolutely nothing left of me to give to my students. I was a walking zombie. Not alert or attentive. No energy. No appetite. Lost. Hurting. Running on empty.
Fast forward to the Friday after:
Due to over a week straight of losing blood from the miscarriage, no appetite or sleep, and being anemic, I got very dizzy while teaching. As we were walking down the hall I asked another teacher to take my students and I went to the school nurse.
The nurse asked me what I needed and I broke down. Like the embarrassing hyperventilating cry where you can hardly understand a single word. I explained my situation and how I've been losing a lot of blood. She said someone was going to take care of my class for the rest of the day. She called my husband, against my preference. How embarrassing! I'm a grown-ass woman and I need my husband to come pick me up from school. The nurse told me that she wasn't going to let me drive home and that I needed to be picked up. Colton picked me up while someone covered my class.
When I returned to school the Monday after, I thanked the teacher for taking care of my class that afternoon. She put her clipboard up to her face, grinned, and said "Ooh Mrs. Mathieu... are you pregnant?" I quickly assured her "No, definitely not!" She continued as if I'm naive and young... She educated me, "Are you sure? If you're dizzy that's usually a symptom!" As if I had no freaking idea. I felt my body tense and my heart rate rise. I raised my voice at her and sternly said "NOPE. I AM DEFINITELY NOT." Realizing I had just shouted at a colleague in front of my students, I felt my heart sink. Feeling misunderstood and frustrated, I slid away and went back to teaching.
This is the moment I realized how deeply God had to heal my heart and how important it was that I learn to extend grace to everyone.
As the Lord is working on healing my heart, I've been encouraged to park on gratitude while grieving.
Check out my blog post, Grief & Gratitude.