When Life Happens

It has been a while since my last post. There are several reasons for this, but the over-arching theme I have discovered that has prevented me from posting is: Life Happens.

My husband and I are the coolest couple in the world...I mean just look at us...Brandy + Spencer = LOVE

For a couple of years, Spencer and I have not necessarily been trying to have a child, but we haven't necessarily not been trying to. In recent months, we became pretty serious about having a baby. We would talk about potential names, nursery decor, what treats Spencer will buy me when I am pregnant and hormonal, who we will trust to babysit, etc. We created this amazing picture of what this process would be like, but sadly...life happens.

Spencer and I have been together for 10 years. He is the true love of my life and my best friend. We were married in 2012. The questions about babies began on our wedding day. I have always joked about not being ready to be a mom. I am scared to hold babies. I am not going to be a good mother. I already have 200+ kids, I don't need anymore. I enjoy my life now without kids. My life will be over if I have kids.

I really used these statements to ward off the questions: "When are you going to have kids?" "You will be a good mom, when are you going to have kids?" I was scared. I am scared. So many what ifs:

What if I am a bad mom?

What if I can't have kids?

What if I have panic attacks while pregnant and hurt the baby?

What if I can't have kids?

What if I have PTSD after having a baby?

What if our marriage isn't as strong?

What . If . I . Can't . Have . Kids ?

I have always had girly part troubles: horrible periods, endometriosis, and a couple of months ago, I had my left ovary removed due to a tumor. After my tumor was removed, recovery was rough. I was in pain, had a terrible allergic reaction, and tried to push myself too hard. Eventually though, I was back to normal, whatever that means. In September, I started feeling tired, emotional, and oh yea, so tired.

The next few weeks were filled with

1. Pee on a stick

2. Wait two minutes

3. Stare intently at stick

4. NO

5. Lose hope

6. Husband and wife pep talk to not lose hope

7. REPEAT

I took so many pregnancy tests, but nothing. I am convinced we bought out CVS's stock of pregnancy tests. But nothing...

On September 17th, we invited our great friends Caleb and Sara over for a game day. These days usually consist of nerd games, beers, and veggie trays to "even out" all the brown food on the table. I was so excited because we were going to be playing some new games and we would be able to catch up on the week!

Before they arrived, Spencer looked at me with raised eyebrows and said, "I mean, I think it is only fair for us to do a Fireball shot before they get here!" I was obviously on board, but thought I am just going to take one more test before I drink, just to be safe. I knew it would say NO, but it would ease my mind to know for sure before drinking. I was playing over the steps in my head, just to prepare myself. Pee on a stick, wait, stare, no, lose hope..

But September 17th was different. I peed on a stick, I waited two minutes, a faint line showed up in the first circle, I hurriedly pulled my pants up, tripped over something, dropped the stick, tried to open the door, failed at opening the door, then ran out to the living room.

I really don't know what happened next. I just shook my head and mumbled and Spencer says, "No way!" He ran out to the CVS down the street to get the YES/NO pregnancy test because the line wasn't dark enough to erase the doubt we constantly built up in our minds. Spencer gets back and I don't have to pee. It's like I had stage fright. I didn't want to take a test that said no. I had a MAYBE test in my hand and for me, that was so much better than a NO test.

Caleb and Sara arrive for a day of games and fun and I just sit on the couch, eyes wide open. Spencer tries to act casually, but I blurt out, "I just took a pregnancy test and I think I am pregnant!" Sara expresses joy and Caleb doesn't know how to act so he just looks at Spencer.

We walk into the dining room to play games, but things are weird, right? They all encourage me to chug water so I can take another test. I drink water. We play Potion Explosion and Code Names before I gain enough courage for test two. I walk slowly into the bathroom and pee on my 802th stick. I wait for the longest 2 minutes of my life. YES appears. I run back into the dining room and make my celebratory rounds!

I call my best friends and family. I have read that you should wait to tell people until the 1st trimester is over, but I mean...come on. We couldn't wait. My parents, his parents, best friends...crying, screaming, pure joy, pure happiness. It felt so good to make someone that happy. I will never forget seeing our moms try to catch breath because they were so happy.

September 19th I went to the bathroom and had some spotting. I have heard this is normal, but still...a call to my doctor was crucial. On the phone, we set up our October appointments and ultrasounds! It was so wonderful.

September 20th, my bleeding became much worse...almost like a period. Time for another doctor call. "Keep and eye on it Brandy and call me if it gets worse. Go get your blood work today and we will make sure your numbers are increasing"

Blood work complete, wait two days, blood work complete, wait for the call from the doctor to see if numbers are improving.

These two days of waiting took two years. We got the call on our way to the bank. My numbers were almost quadrupling. I was pregnant! No doubt about. Despite massive blood loss, everything else was looking good. Because my periods are always bad and all over the place, my doctors thought there was nothing to worry about at the time. The bleeding continued.

On September 26th I was at work, prepping for the after-school rush. Kids came in hugging my leg, asking about my day, high-fiving. Around 4:00pm, I began having a sharp pain on my right side. I thought it was pregnancy gas? My mom friends have always told me how miserable pregnancy gas could be. I laid down on my stomach. walked around, stretched in various positions, but the pain did not subside. I began to feel dizzy, like I was going to pass out. I went home, tried to eat dinner, laid down in bed, Spencer rubbed my back, I tried to power through. Around 11:00pm, my mom called me to check in and said I should head in to the ER because if it were gas, it would have subsided by now.

We made our way to the ER and arrived around 11:30pm. I checked in while Spencer parked the car. I heard screaming, and I mean blood curdling screaming outside. A woman entered on a stretcher screaming, "It's happening! He is coming now!" She lifted up her sweatpants and a baby was like completely coming out. I thought...this is the universe's way of giving me some perspective. I have pain, but this woman is like having a baby on a stretcher...

I sat in a cold waiting room chair from 11:30pm-6:30am in complete and utter pain. I was not allowed to take any medicine as I was pregnant. I said was. There is some foreshadowing for the remainder of this story.

Eventually, I had two ultrasounds, blood work, peed in a cup, and finally got into a room. I laid on my stomach hoping to subside the pain. A doctor came in. His name was Dr. Sheppard. Spencer and I will never forget him. His white hair and lab coat. His clipboard. His glasses. His smile. His jokes.

He walked in with a lab assistant and what looked like an intern. She was taking notes. Dr. Sheppard looked at the computer. He muttered, "these number look great, your blood work looks greats..." Then silence. "Oh..." he whispered. It looks like there's *blah blah doctor words*

"There is a pregnancy in the right fallopian tube."

"That's not where it is supposed to be"

"That's right. That's not where it is supposed to be."

"So, does that mean, I don't have a pregnancy anymore?"

Spencer and I look at each other. Fear.

"It is a pregnancy can cannot be taken to term."

Everything kind of just stopped. There was a halogen light above me that blinked and I tried to count the flashes. I began to cry. Spencer held me. Dr. Sheppard placed his hand on my shoulder. He said so many kind things like, "It will be ok!" and "Women have this innate ability to blame themselves. You could not have done anything about this. It just happened."

Dr. Sheppard left. Spencer held me as we cried together. I thought

How can I call people and tell them NO?

Is this because I am overweight?

Why would this happen to anyone?

What did we do to deserve this?

One time I stole a lipstick, is this payback?

I don't deserve the happiness of a baby?

I cause people pain.

I am no longer pregnant.

No one knows what I am going through.

We will not have a baby on May 23rd.

Dr. Bolger, the on-call OB/GYN came into my room. I think I fell asleep at some point before seeing her. She was kind. She was informative. She told us our options. She gave us hope. She was clear. She told us that I had an ectopic pregnancy...that the "baby" stopped in my fallopian tube instead of the tummy. That this will be fatal for both me and the baby if we don't take action. I had miscarried. "That this is not a pregnancy." "That this is...*blah blah blah doctor words*"

I really hate that word. Miscarry. It implies I did something wrong while attempting to carry a baby. It did not help with my guilt struggle.

A nurse came in with two syringes filled with chemotherapy. One shot in the right butt cheek, one in the left. The physical pain subsided, but the emotional did not. Spencer and I made our way to the car after 30 minutes of observation to ensure I reacted to the medicine well. It was 12:00pm the next day.

I made phone calls and sent emails. I couldn't go to work. I am completely blessed to have a work team that allowed me to take some time to grieve. I suffer from anxiety. I am sure you can imagine what this week was like.

I work with kids. I love kids. They give me purpose. My life's passion and goal is to provide a better world for kids. When grief happens, your job doesn't. When I returned to work, it was so difficult. Seeing my little babies made me so happy. They missed me. But it made me feel like I will never have one of my own. A million thoughts flooded my mind.

In my past experiences with anxiety, I have learned that talking about what I am feeling helps immensely. I started to open up to people close to me about what happened. I had no idea how many women experience miscarriages. Millions. My friends. My family. Me. People don't talk about it. Maybe because it is scary? It is uncomfortable? I just feel like if we can have pics of J. Beebs ween all over the internet, we can have conversations about miscarriages and infant loss. It sucks and people need to know.

People also need to know that there are genuinely good people in the world. My mom, my mother-in law, my family, my friends, my doctors, my co-workers. We couldn't have gotten through this without them.

People also need to know that my husband is the best human in the world. He was nothing but supportive. We grieved together and we are closer than ever. We are just getting back to talking about nursery themes as we hope to try again when we can.

Finally, people need to know that when you work with kids, losing a child is incredibly difficult. It is difficult for everyone, but every time you see a kiddo with whom you work, it is a reminder. Sometimes it can remind you of your purpose or take your mind off of the pain, but other times it can be a constant reminder of what you have lost.

What I have learned:

We must take time to grieve when tragedy happens. I know way too many after-school professionals who try to power through. Take time. You can be much better when you heal, or start the healing process.

There are genuinely good people in the world.

Our after-school family is a real family.

Sharing feelings and grief with others is helpful.

Working with kids is hard, especially when you are trying to have your own. Or when you see a kid experience something you did as a child and it fills you with fear. Or when you have to hotline a child because of neglect. Our jobs are so hard, but rewarding. And guess what? Life happens. And when it does happen, we are all so lucky to have our after-school family to support us.

#life #happens

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