Saturday, December 3, 2016

my miscarriage story, part 4 -- the best news

Dearest friends,

Through the process of sharing my miscarriage story I've heard from many of you -- words of support and empathy -- many of you have experienced a miscarriage of your own. I couldn't respond to each of you but I truly appreciate that you opened up to me, bonding us in womanhood. 

My story concludes below.

The positive pregnancy test in Michigan this past August threw me into a panicked loop. I wasn't ready to be pregnant again only to risk finding out 6 weeks later there was no baby. There's no way I was emotionally stable enough to handle that. Tears fell the rest of the family vacation and I confided in my brother (I needed to talk to someone other than my husband). He let me cry through my fears -- the obvious fear being this another failed pregnancy (it had already failed in my mind) -- then calmly and lovingly advised that I not take counsel from my doubts. He knew I was swimming in doubt and, in that moment, they were crippling me. I told him if this pregnancy didn't go full term, I'd be done. He looked at me, hugged me tightly, and told me he loved me.

Once we were home in San Francisco, I scheduled my prenatal appointment. Anxious and numb, I sat in the observation room with my husband -- a scene too familiar and cold, a room of bad news. But, unlike the two times before, we left the hospital with good news, the best news: at this point in my pregnancy, albeit early, baby was where he was supposed to be and all looked good.

Hooray!
Hurrah!
Yippee!

images courtesy of the animal print shop blog

I proceeded with an emotional seatbelt, sharing the good news with only a few people (I wasn't yet out of the miscarriage woods -- the risk of miscarriage dwindles less and less with each week -- and purposefully limited who I told). As the weeks passed, the expected pregnancy symptoms came and went -- miserable morning sickness, aching fatigue, confusing body changes -- and with each my doctor applauded.

And then the most amazing thing happened: at my 10-week appointment, I heard baby's heartbeat. My baby's heartbeat. The baby inside me -- he was growing and healthy and his heart was beating, steady and strong. I cried, and giggled in disbelief, and grabbed my husband's hand. Hearing the rhythm of baby's heartbeat confirmed to me this was real, that baby was there, and it was ok to get excited now. 

Now I'm 20 weeks (halfway to full term), I'm showing beyond being able to hide baby Brooks, and I'm thrilled. And it feels so good -- having the personal allowance to be excited about baby. We're shopping for car seats and strollers and a rocking chair, and gladly accepting newborn onesies from baby's cousins. I'm building my baby library and reading to him -- The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen -- and trying on babybjorns. I come across cute baby stuff, like this snuggly elephant, and picture him tucked away during a nap.

Being pregnant is hard, but when I hear his heartbeat or feel him moving, the hard stuff disappears from memory and is immediately replaced with a swelling of joy and being totally worth it

I'm going to be a mom. (!)

Yours truly, with hugs and love,
Katie
part 1  |  part 2  |  part 3  |  part 4

Friday, December 2, 2016

my miscarriage story, part 3 -- I wasn't broken

The pregnancy test read positive in mid-January. Two pregnancy tests, to be sure. It was a surprise; I didn't expect to get pregnant again so soon. According to my doctor, my body wouldn't be ready until at least one full menstrual cycle and up until then, it can take some time for the body to reestablish the pattern. I'd had some spotting and even a span of days of flow-like spotting but it certainly didn't resemble what my cycle had been like before. So to have a pregnancy test come back positive -- yeah, I was surprised.

Excitedly, I made my prenatal appointment and marked the calendar. I remember feelings of anxiety but forcing them into the tiny box of doubt in the back of my mind. This time was going to be different, I told myself. Many women have had a miscarriage and then gone on to have successful pregnancies. I now fall into that category. 


image courtesy of irving penn

With my husband at my side, we sat in the observation room. The room of bad news and gloom. The room of tears and hurt and pain and questions. Not this time! This time was going to be different.

We waited and waited. Awkward small talk. Silence. More awkward small talk. Neither of us dared approach the elephant in the room. The "what if it's another miscarriage?" elephant. 

Finally, the nurse practitioner came in and we chatted about my history before the vaginal ultrasound. "You might feel some pressure," she said. The gel on the instrument was cool and then bam -- my uterus was on the monitor. I recognized the growth sac and understood the nurse was trying measuring it. What I didn't understand was the look, a muscled poker face, absent of hope and excitement, on her face. And then I understood. 

There was no baby. Again. 

"It's like deja vu," my husband whispered, holding my hand tight. Tears welled up in my eyes. I held them back as long as I could but finally they fell down my cheeks, uncontrollably. 

The nurse tried to explain and talk through next steps but I barked, "Can I just get dressed? I need to get out of here." I needed air -- the room was suffocating. I needed to cry, to let the tears rush. And until I was safe at home I wouldn't be able to.

I didn't wait long to put the physical aspect of the miscarriage into action, but it seemed holidays would now be scarred. My first miscarriage was on Labour Day; this miscarriage would be on Valentine's Day (are you kidding me?). While we typically don't celebrate Valentine's Day in a big way -- my favourite memory was heading up to Fairfax, dinner at a dive-y diner, and then Robocop at the theatre; the best part was I fell asleep halfway through -- it was still Valentine's Day, and would now have a giant blemish. Determined to go down in style, we made a reservation at Cafe Claude, our favourite french restaurant, and dressed up. I wore a sweet LBT and the pearls my husband bought me our first Christmas as a couple. ("A girl like you should have pearls," he said.) The miscarriage was off limits -- no talking or discussing it -- during dinner; it would still be there tomorrow.

Tomorrow came -- Valentine's Day 2016 -- my second miscarriage -- in 6 months. 

Physically, the pain and experience were the same. And I'm really glad I had the foresight to take notes during my first miscarriage; comparing notes was helpful. The biggest physical difference was my body. I looked different. I felt different. Even though I was pregnant for only a short time, my body had changed. And I could feel it. And see it. Every day it was a glaring reminder that this pregnancy wasn't meant to be.

The emotional impact was far different. I went to a very dark place. A darker place than I'd ever been before. Long texts of despair went out to a few people very dear to me; people that I could count on to hear me out and not try to sugarcoat what I was experiencing. 

My faith and relationship with Heavenly Father got a real shake-up; something I was not prepared for. Families and their importance are a big part of my faith and every Sunday it seemed someone was drilling that message home. I couldn't take it. I'd sit in church alone and depressed, quietly crying my way through the meeting, my mind full of questions, wondering if God was punishing me for a bad decision, wondering what the point of my existence was if I couldn't bear children. I had always wanted to be a mom and with these last two chances slipping out of reach I was scared. I was getting older and having a successful pregnancy would continue to prove more difficult. And here I was in a Latter-Day Saint congregation surrounded by young, beautiful pregnant women; women who already had a baby or two. What was so different about them? Why did they get children and I didn't?

Questions like that spiraled out of control and pulled me to a deep and dark place where I remained for months, until finally I emailed my doctor for help. I could no longer handle this pain on my own -- it wasn't working. My relationship with my husband was at odds all the time (he didn't understand what I was going through) and the tension in our apartment, because of my emotional misery, was obvious and uncomfortable; home was no longer a safe place.

Meeting with a therapist was the best thing for me. The woman was kind, thoughtful, unbiased, and sincere. And after a couple tearful visits, she offered the most important advice that stuck with me: I wasn't broken. I felt broken, because I felt different than before -- but I wasn't. I was hurting and in pain, and she reassured me of my allowance to experience these normal feelings. She also encouraged me to be patient with myself; to allow myself to feel the pain and darkness. Feeling all of this didn't mean I was broken. I needed to hear that. And I needed to hear that from someone that didn't know me, didn't have my history biasing what she said. 

After that session, I finally felt the curtain of darkness begin to lift from my soul. I was able to get on with my life -- I started exercising again, baking and cooking, enjoying my husband, and reestablishing my faith. Let me say, that while the pain was diminished, it wasn't completely absent. I'd still tear up at church, talking to friends and family about my experience, thinking about the future, and even for no apparent reason. 

A couple weeks passed and I found myself sitting on the edge of the dock at my family's Michigan lakehouse in sheer panic: another positive pregnancy test.



part 1  |  part 2  |  part 3  |  part 4

it's a christmas weekend!

hooray!
hurrah!
yippee!

it's a weekend of making homemade sausage, baking pumpkin bread, watching college football, apartment-hunting, christmas shopping and decorating, and debating on buying this coat to wrap and put under the tree for myself. 

i love christmas, and all the happy hustle and bustle that goes with it. do you? and can you believe it's only four sundays away? it'll be christmas morning before we know it.


love truly,
kcb

Thursday, December 1, 2016

thursday things i love--

images courtesy of 1, 2, 3

homemade beef stew leftovers for lunch
weeknight date night -- movie in
sweet batard loaf, white cheese, olive oil and balsamic vinegar
this cardigan sweater -- like a cozy blanket
the smell and glow of a real christmas tree
the look of the ocean in the wintertime
i want to eat these -- sour cream doughnut holes
warm feet during these brisk san francisco winter nights
holiday roadtrips -- even 12-14 hour ones

things i love.
happy thursday!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

my miscarriage story, part 2 -- I was emotionally raw...

Carrying on in my story, I'd like to share a little bit more about my actual miscarriage -- the process, the hurt, the physical pain, the emotional toil. Miscarriages aren't openly spoken about and they should be, as a sense of education and sisterhood, if nothing else. This is my entry into the library of miscarriage articles -- my story -- to anyone that may need to read it.

For any woman that has gone through or is going through a miscarriage, the one thing I can assure you is no matter how alone you may feel, you are not alone. We may not be beside you during your time of agony, but we are out there; we have experienced the same hurts; we are with you.


images courtesy of 1, 2

The day I went in for my first prenatal appointment, I could feel that something was different about me, even at just week five. I felt empty and normal, compared to the sense of life within me only a couple days before. Lying on the table in the observation room with the ultrasound equipment to one side, my feet in the stirrups and my doctor staring at the screen trying to keep her poker face, I already knew what she was going to say.

There was no baby.

I was both stunned and not surprised. As a sign of hope, my doctor suggested I return in a week to see if the tiny embryo was growing, which should show a sign of life. But according to my conception date -- which was more of a guess than a true date -- the embryo wasn't as big as it should be. I was confident the embryo wouldn't change, I could feel it deep within me. But I returned and when I did, my doctor started to discuss my options for the miscarriage: I could have a procedure called a dilation and curettage, often referred to as a d&c -- no thanks; or I could take a couple pills and allow the miscarriage to happen more organically. I chose the organic way. But even then my doctor said the miscarriage might happen by itself if I gave my body the time so I did. During a work trip the next weekend, I noticed some spotting and spilled out a small blood clot. Being new to the mysteries of pregnancy and miscarriages, I thought that was it. 

I was wrong. Terribly wrong. 

At the urging of my doctor, my husband and I set my miscarriage date for the following Saturday, which happened to be Labour Day 2015.

That Saturday morning started like most any other Saturday -- my husband and I went for a jog along East Beach and then we had brunch, figuring I shouldn't embark on this journey with an empty stomach. Shortly after arriving home, I inserted the two pills, one in each cheek, where they were to dissolve after 30 minutes, and they did, leaving a chalky layer behind. I swallowed the chalky bits and went to the bathroom -- I could feel the cramps beginning (much like menstrual cramps) -- and noticed blood in the water. 

In spite of the cramps and bleeding, I felt fine. But then my body starting revolting the embryo remains inside me -- my cramps worsened and I started vomiting. (I kept large mixing bowls by my bed in case I couldn't make it to the bathroom in time.) Sitting on the toilet, I could feel the blood clots slipping out of my body and before flushing I'd stare into the bowl -- amazed at the depth of its red colour -- and watch the clots sink. (I know that's gross, but I had to do it, for my own education. I had to see what was coming out of my body.)

The cramps and bleeding continued through the rest of the day. I was changing maxi pads (no tampons allowed) every hour as blood clots of all sizes continued to drop among menstrual-like bleeding. Twenty-four hours later, I was still curled up in bed, uncomfortable, lonely, and emotional with no sense of comfort except from Suzy snuggled on the corner of my bed, barely within reach. Nothing my husband said or did brought any comfort. Texts from my mom and dad went unread and upset me. 

It wasn't until 16 days later that the bleeding and cramps fully subsided. But the emotional pain stayed with me for months, and still creeps in from time to time. 

I was emotionally raw for some time thereafter -- numb, almost unable to feel, and, honestly, wanting to stay miserable. No one understood what I was experiencing -- not even me. I was confused and sad and missing a part of me -- a part of me that [I thought] was a big piece of my life plan. 

Opportunities to heal and be with family were right around the corner -- our wedding anniversary and Thanksgiving. Our anniversary was a weekend getaway to Las Vegas to see Elton John (check that off the bucket list) and explore the strip (my husband had never been). We walked and walked and ate as much as we could stuff in our bodies. Most importantly, we slept. The toll of my miscarriage was evident in both of us and an actual change of scenery was just what we needed to reconnect. 

Thanksgiving --  my favourite holiday; time to spend with family and eat and eat and eat, and watch football, and live in loungewear -- was soon upon us sending us to Portland -- road trip! I reveled in the company of my nieces and nephews and found relief from my troubles by focusing on them -- reading story after story, colouring, dancing and jumping around, and snuggling during movies. My sister-in-law and my cousin's wife were all ears and hugs as they tried to console my pain while we cooked and baked. Honestly, talking about my miscarriage with someone other than my husband helped a lot (one can only burden one's spouse so much), and reminded me it wasn't my fault.

And then it was Christmas and the new year (2016) and a positive pregnancy test.



part 1  |  part 2  |  part 3  |  part 4

thursday things I love--

images courtesy of 1, 2, 3

the npr politics podcast.
laughing so hard it hurts.
the peace from the first snowfall.
coat care tips from madewell.
suzy's love for the bathtub.
president obama -- don't leave us.
balloons! this installation for oh happy day by geronimo is awesome.

things I love.
happy thursday.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

the list diaries: chapter 005 -- I vote for hope.

images courtesy 1, 2, 3

the list diaries.
chapter 005.

I didn't vote for Trump, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that knows me. And while I'm devastated at the turn of events and nervous for the future, I'm standing alongside President Obama and Secretary Clinton -- remembering the sun will come up tomorrow and to not lose hope. In the midst of such a tragedy, I thought it helpful to remind myself of what I do vote for and some of my hopes.


  • more time with family
  • honesty with ourselves
  • more productive me-time
  • reading books
  • more time in the kitchen
  • more sleep
  • less candy
  • more hugs
  • more benefit of the doubt
  • more kindness
  • more patience
  • more fresh air
  • less darkness
  • more white lights
  • less clutter
  • purpose
  • a future for each woman in her chosen path
  • more cronuts from Donut Savant
  • more nights by the fire
  • more snow angels
  • herbal tea and popcorn
  • snuggles with pets, babies, and nieces and nephews
  • sunsets
  • my someday farmhouse

We can all benefit from sharing our hopes with each other, and that in no way is my entire list. If you feel like adding your two cents, you're welcome to.

Friday, November 4, 2016

dear weekend--

courtesy of the madewell blog

dear weekend,

are you there? it's me, Katie. 

and I just wanted to make sure you'll be coming around this weekend because I really need you. it's been an emotional week and I'm tired. can we snuggle up with snacks and doze in and out of football games? will you deliver a sofa for my husband to nap on and make me a batch of chocolate chip cookies?

weekend, you're important to me. hope to see you soon.

love,
Katie

Thursday, November 3, 2016

thursday things I love--

images courtesy of 1, 2

truth and honesty.
staying in and cooking in our jammies.
the white subway tile in our newly-remodeled bathroom.
white lights framing the bay window.
suzy's fluffy tummy.
sharing good news with family and friends.
this article by president obama -- he's incredible.
my green healthy plants -- sandrine and moses.

things I love.
happy thursday!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

the list diaries: chapter 004 -- talking skincare.

images courtesy of glossier.com

the list diaries.
chapter 004.

when I arrived at work today, two packages from Glossier were on my desk. hooray! a couple coworkers noticed and were curious because they'd seen the new Glossier banners around San Francisco; one coworker was even the recipient of a long-stemmed perfectly pink rose the day Glossier was in town. so we started talking and I thought I'd share my list of Glossier beauty and skincare product must-haves.


and should you choose to give them a shot, and I encourage you to, use this promo link. let me know how it goes.  


Thursday, October 27, 2016

thursday things I love--

images courtesy 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

misty overcast, gray days.
knowing myself.
smearing my toasted bagel generously with cream cheese.
hair goals -- the mademoiselle on the right.
making to do lists and crossing items off. so satisfying!
the aroma of fresh bread baking.
nora the polar bear -- she looks so happy. 
the way music can run me over with chills or bring tears to my eyes.
andrew bird and matt berninger's cover of lou reed's "perfect day."

things I love.
happy thursday!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

ballet pink tulle for Halloween.

I'm an observer when Halloween comes around, an admirer of the creativity of others, like Lauren Conrad, for example. She created vintage-inspired circus performer costumes and amped them with ballet pink tulle and white tights. Adorable and totally swoon-worthy -- a fun and cheerful addition to the Halloween costume repertoire. 

images courtesy of refinery29

Monday, October 24, 2016

hello Monday!

the weekend is behind us -- the lounging; the napping; the easy times. did you have a good weekend?

it's the middle of a gray and cloudy Monday (my favourite weather, seriously): my team has met in our weekly meeting; lunch has been had (kale caesar salad and grapefruit juice); and now I'm figuring out what my afternoon will look like. but all I can think about is getting home to FaceTime my brother, sister-in-law, nephew and niece in Utah. 

theglitterguide.tumblr.com

Friday, October 21, 2016

the weekend is coming--

hooray!
hurrah!
yippee!

the blessed weekend. 
a time to get chores done. 
a time to relax. 
time for football or pumpkin patches. 
halloween costume assembly and decorating. 
time to bake and cook.
time to call family.
time to write.
time to nap.

I don't know that we'll get to a pumpkin patch this year but pretty much everything else on the list above will make up our weekend. 

happy times, lovies,
KCB

images courtesy of (2 on the left) thatkindofwoman.tumblr.com and (1 on the right) cupofjo.com

Thursday, October 20, 2016

thursday things I love--

image courtesy of thatkindofwoman.tumblr.com

sleeping in my own bed
the feel of new sheets
crisp, juicy apples
taking the time to be thoughtful about new furniture, like this sofa
crossing items off my baking list, like cheesecake and pumpkin bread
Suzy's scratchy voice pulling me from sleep
glossier super pack and stretch concealer -- my complexion has never been brighter
the way fall feels in the morning
farmgirl flowers for my anniversary -- swoon
chet faker: gold -- the video is really cool

things I love.
happy Thursday!

Friday, October 14, 2016

rainy weekend ahead.

hooray!
hurrah!
yippee!

Friday and rain?! Total joy. 

Good news to share: After almost 4 months of living in a hotel after our apartment suffered water damage from an upstairs pipe breaking, we've moved back home. When we opened the storage unit yesterday for the first time since packing it, I was shamelessly happy to see all of my stuff -- my clothes and shoes, my bird print and white cabinet. It was all still there, just where we'd left it. And now it was coming home with me. 

And so that will be our weekend -- unpacking and arranging the apartment, all-the-while kale soup will be simmering on the stovetop and college football will be on the television keeping us company all day. I also plan on making some banana bread if I can find bananas ripe enough. If not, I may end up making pumpkin bread -- oh shucks.  

The arranging part I'm especially excited for because when I moved in, I moved in around my husband's things. Now it's like a clean slate and we can arrange the apartment together. Weeeeeeee!

Anyone going to a pumpkin patch or carving pumpkins? Tell me every last detail. 

Hooray for my favourite time of year when the best apples are in season, college football is on television for 12+ hours, and the kitchen is my favourite room.

Love,
KCB