Wednesday, September 5, 2012

my pregnancy with ember: journaling through the fear.

Towards the end of January, early February, I started having nightmares.

I've mentioned before about how my dreams are never very pleasant. Not necessarily bad. But I don't think I've ever just had a beautiful, amazing, inspiring dream.

When I have nightmares, I have nightmares.
The kind that wake up me up sobbing, screaming out, or completely frightened that somehow my nightmare is actually reality.

They suck.
Just ask Neil. He's the unfortunate witness to them.

For a few days, I think not quite a couple weeks, I was having nightmares about the miscarriage. Well, a miscarriage. It wasn't the miscarriage of the twins. And I don't think it was for certain my fear of miscarrying Ember.

All I was dreaming about over and over was just a lot of blood. A lot of crying. A lot of holding myself by the knees. A lot of sitting in various bathrooms. And a lot of blood. I won't get more detailed than that, but those are the basics.
The hardest part about miscarrying the twins naturally at home, was the scene that unfolded. It was graphic. More graphic than I would have ever imagined. Every time I thought it was all over and it wasn't. Going back and forth from the bed, to the toilet. Hiding away for days in our room. Miscarrying the second baby in the bathroom stall of a grocery store. Not being able to flush that damn toilet (how in the hell could I flush that toilet? Like I was flushing away a goldfish or something??) and carrying around the remains, wrapped in tissue, in my pocket. Storing them both in a baggie, in the giant freezer until we buried them. Calling my dad on Father's Day (it all started Friday, and the worst finished on Sunday, Father's Day) and telling him that I was no longer pregnant, him being really quiet, and just saying "damn." Not having any idea that miscarriages, and the bleeding can last days and days. I hated someone saying that I had "miscarried" because it wasn't over and I always thought, "I'm still miscarrying!".

And of course now, having given birth to Ember, her birth was all a completely different event than that. I guess all because of the outcome? All because of the reason? The pain, the blood, all the natural events. Completely different. That was all beautiful to me, perfect, natural. The miscarriage felt like violation and betrayal.

So the nightmares reflected all of this fear. My giant fear that I would give birth to nothing but blood. To an unwhole baby. To a dead baby. Or even, to just nothing.

I got so fed up, because I had been keeping it all to myself for a few days. Neil, he's superman, as we all know. The minute he saw that healthy sonogram, the minute he found out it was Ember, he was positive that in May his healthy, beautiful daughter would join us. If he wavered, if he feared, I never knew about it. I didn't want to be the crazy, scared one.
I'm always the crazy scared one!
It would be refreshing, just once, to feel like the sane one.

I know that he told me once, or maybe twice, that yeah, it was easy to be nervous sometimes. But he just didn't go there, because everything was fine.
The kind of money I would pay for that type of mentality.

I finally confessed my dreams to him. I confessed that they were even sometimes daydreams. I confessed that I just couldn't shake them.

He looked really helpless when I was finished. I always feel a bit bothered when Neil feels helpless. It sort of gives me this heavy feeling that, I would really have to face whatever is going on, myself. He can't do it for me.

A few weeks later, I decided I want to scrapbook and journal. I was feeling this overwhelming need to do something creative, as it had been months. I had a kit from the year before, which, like most my kits, had been sitting in a pile way too long. I had no idea what I was going to create, but I set out anyways just playing around with the product.

This is what I ended up with... very organically. I think about half into to this I realized where I was going. I was very hesitant, and it took me much longer than most pages do. I kept stopping and just fiddling. The writing here came very last before I was finished with the front.

My pregnancy with Ember: Creating through the Fear

Now, to talk scrappy, if I was being honest, I would admit to you that this is not a page that I love design wise. It's a big mess to me and I don't find it pretty or pleasing to the eye at all. But is it an accurate reflection of what I was working through, feeling and needing to express? Yes, actually, it really is.

I realized after I finished writing on the front, that I had a lot more to say. I sort of started panicking about that, because my usual solution is to journal on the back. But my insides were knotting all together at the thought of actually writing out anything that was coming to me. Really put it on paper.
So, I stalled. I prepared the back of the page with my patterned paper. And then, I just started messing around. I think I even talked myself into starting another page with the kit, instead.

This went on for awhile. I got up, I sat back down. I pushed product around. I watched some of the show Neil was watching on tv. I was looking for any and all distractions.
My tummy was in knots.

Until, someone started to kick me.
Ember started kicking me. Quickly and hard. Over and over again, in the same sort of rhythm. It was actually uncomfortable for a bit. At first I laughed about it. But she didn't quit. I thought about going and taking a warm bath to calm us both down. But I didn't feel good leaving the unfinished page and I was starting to realize Ember didn't like it either. (duh!)

So I sat myself down. And I wrote. And I started to cry. And just as soon as the first few sentences were on the page, Ember stopped kicking. In fact, she got very still.

My pregnancy with Ember: Creating through the Fear
I want to sigh outloud right now. This is pretty heavy right? I promise I was not all gloom and doom my entire pregnancy. Actually, I can tell you that creating this, and just writing this, made a huge difference for me. I should have done it months before I did. Facing emotion is hard though. I should have done a lot more as well. There was so much creative energy inside me during my pregnancy, I really regret not taking advantage of it. Not too mention the positive impact that working through stuff like this can have on birth.

And then there is my girl. Who has been communicating with me even before birth.
It was always up to me to open up to it or not.

Afterwards, I would spend time here and there going over the page, whether or not to share it, whether or not to redo the whole thing, whether or not I should even keep it, whether or not it was enough (nothing ever feels like enough when it comes to this topic). But mostly, all I could think about was how my daughter pushed me to be honest about my feelings, my fears and my need to say all this.
I only hope one day that I am the momma I want to be, and that I return that favor.
It was always up to me to open up to it or not.


  1. As always your posts really speak to me and I thank you for sharing them. I feel really awful because I didn't go through a miscarriage and yet I had those same paranoid fears all through my pregnancy with Ali and I wanted to just be able to believe everything would be alright the way Jarell did but I couldn't. And I think being constantly worried while pretending to be okay and normal for everyone else is a big part of the reason my home birth didn't happen.

  2. Girl, tears...every time I read your posts. They are so deep. It takes great courage to let people in like that. Great. Courage. You are brave. You are strong. Thank you for being you. Thank you for making me cry. Some of your posts bring about my own emotions about similar situations I have been in that I haven't fully processed...and you give me courage to heal. You are an amazing person.