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Saturday, 23 June 2012

Grieving and Moving forward.

It may sound silly, but I feel like writing this post is necessary for my current grieving process. Sometimes, the best thing about a blog is that you get a chance to get everything out at once. It's not a conversation with someone (though those are often awesome as well), you can cry and keep on typing, you can edit how you say things (without your readers ever knowing that you aren't so clever the first go-round all. the. time.) and you can blog about difficult things, and move that little bit forward in a tough situation without having to sound calm, and collected, and any other manner of emotions that you're not.

Dear readers, some of you may know, many will not, that I have had a "tough go of it" (as my Grandmother would say) lately. And I know that there will be parts of this story that get left out, there will be parts that aren't chronological, and to be perfectly honest, no matter who ends up reading this, the reality is, it may not be for you. The reality is that this blog post is for me.

As I sit here to write this, I am almost 2 weeks post-op for an emergency surgery for a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. Layman's terms: I had surgery because I had a pregnancy that implanted in the tube instead of in the womb, and it burst, and bled. A lot. It was dangerous. It was potentially fatal. It was scary.

Whoa whoa, back up the truck, you might be saying. Or perhaps you're just staring at the screen. Don't worry, I'm not going to use a lot of medical terms, and I'll try not to give out too many "gory details", because I don't actually want to talk about the physical surgery here much. Believe it or not, that's not the hard part.

I am married to a wonderful, exceptionally calm and collected, kind and caring man. He is my best friend. I often refer to him here on Talk and Tea Leaves as "The Hubs". We have 2 crazy, wild, beautiful, sweet little boys: The "big'un" and the "littl'un". My big'un turns 4 on Tuesday. The littl'un is 2.

We love being a family. We love our children to absolute bits. We also both came from families with 3 children and we wanted another.

In November of 2011, we had a natural miscarriage. It was early, it all came about naturally, and it was extremely difficult for me. I am that woman; that as soon as there are 2 pink lines on that stupid stick - it's a baby dammit. And I grieved that loss. Through Christmas, and family functions, and band practices and work, and all that life just is.

But we moved forward. We knew that God has a plan for us, and perhaps it didn't include having a baby at that time, that he needed us for other things. We don't always know or understand God's plan, but we do try and trust in Him. It's hard - no one is going to say it isn't, but we try.

So, at the end of May when I saw those 2 pink lines again, I was both immediately overjoyed and terrified. I didn't want to go through that loss again. And when I started to miscarry (my impression of what was happening) at the beginning of June, I decided to try and grieve as privately as possible and just carry on. At one point I even had myself convinced that it was a false positive, and that I had never been pregnant at all.

June 10, 2012...
Was a pretty great day. We had our outdoor service at the church that morning. The music was awesome, our liturgical dance group danced, we had a picnic lunch. We worshiped, we laughed, and we had fun. Later that afternoon I attended a bridal shower for one of the girls we grew up with at church. More laughter, more fun. A good day all around.

I got home, talked to my kids, and let the dog out in the backyard and started talking with the hubs. Suddenly I noticed the gate was open, of course, I noticed it after the dog noticed, and the hubs and I had to chase him down the street and finally manage to wrangle him home.  I took the time to post a cheeky Facebook status about it. Then I went around the house to tidy a little bit. In our upstairs bathroom, I bent over to pick something up off the floor and went down like a sack of bricks. I felt like I'd been stabbed in the stomach. My husband was outside. My kids were downstairs. I was alone. And I thought I was going to die.

Somehow I managed to get myself down to the backdoor where the hubs was working outside, opened the door and said "Call my parents and call 9-1-1". I was scared. My husband was .... calm-ish, and on the phone. I was in pain. To be honest, the next little bit is not all that clear. My folks arrived, we managed to get me to a couch, the hubs called an ambulance, they came, and they took me to the hospital. The only thing I kept thinking was "I'm going to die, and my children's last memory of me will be terrifying".

The nurses and EMTs asked a million questions; or the same question a million times. There was blood drawn, I was given something for the pain (thank goodness), and taken for an ultrasound. The tech couldn't (wouldn't? wasn't allowed?) to tell me anything. I asked her what she was looking for and she said "a pregnancy, normal, ectopic or otherwise". I didn't really know what that meant, but that it might mean a shot.

We were taken back to our room in the ER, and a nurse came and told us they were moving me to another room. We hurried down a short hall, to another room, where we were met by a doctor - who was rushing. In my experience: doctors don't panic, but when they rush, there's something wrong. She spoke to me, explained that I had been pregnant (past tense) that it was ectopic (past tense) and had ruptured (past tense). She also explained that I was hemorrhaging (present tense) into my abdomen and had a blood clot the size of my hand and 2 inches thick. Doing nothing was not an option. Doing nothing meant that this would be fatal. We were going to surgery. ASAP.

I was terrified. I asked the hubs to call my family. I needed people to pray. I spoke to my children, and though they don't know it, I was saying goodbye. All at the exact. same. time. as dealing with this thought: "I was pregnant, and now that baby is gone, and I may die".

The rest of the evening progressed to emergency surgery, a lot of pain, a huge incision (in a big rush according to the doctor's notes), recovery, and moving to a hospital room. By 1am I was in a room, hopped up on a tonne of drugs, and feeling decidedly empty.

That lasted for about 2 days.

People came to the hospital to visit. The hubs, the kiddos, my in-laws, my parents, my sisters, my b-i-l and his fiancée, my friends from church, my best friend. Many people. So much love and support and care. I knew, rationally, that I was and am continuing to be blessed beyond measure. But all I could think, over and over and over is "My baby is gone. What did I do wrong? Why is this happening to me? My baby is gone."

They released me; I was sent home: with anti-inflammatories and high caliber pain-killers. My anxiety rising, but trying desperately to appear normal and thankful and grateful and all the things that I really really was, or wanted to be.

And I want to say, truly, we have been so so so blessed. The absolute outpouring of love and care and support that has come from our families, our friends, and our church has been indescribably wonderful. We have so many prayers and care and good thoughts coming our way that I know we will get through this. We will. But on Monday I had a panic attack. And there are still times when I feel so empty. Numb.

And here's the thing. No one really knows what to say (and if you're someone who doesn't know what to say: it's okay... really it is) and they so desperately want you to feel better, and to know and understand that you're loved, that they say really wonderful things, like "I'm sorry" and "We love you" and "Look at your beautiful boys, take comfort in them" and it breaks your heart over and over because it's true and you're still sad. It's true and you still feel empty and broken and numb and drained and awful. And you smile, and you agree, because you want to, and you feel stupid doing it. And there's a part of you that feels like, because you DO have children and that so many others don't even have that; that on some level, your grief is not allowed.

And no: no-one would ever tell you that.

But that's how it feels.

And the real question is: does it ever go away? I don't know.

I know that right now, after a wonderful happy day of celebrating my big'un's birthday with family and laughter and too much food that my heart aches because in May I was planning on announcing the coming baby at the party. That even though I am wildly proud of my kiddos and completely in love with my little family that on some level it feels incomplete. And part of me desperately wants to go back to "normal" although I'm not even certain I know what that is anymore.

So here's the message to the interwebs part of this (seriously lengthy - good on you if you've stuck it out) post: I'm not a professional anything, but this is what I think:

It's okay. It's okay to grieve. To grieve endlessly, heartbreakingly, painfully. And it's okay to do it while you're laughing with family and friends, eating cupcakes. It's okay to grieve when you wake up in the middle of the night in a panic. It’s okay to be grieving when you tell someone "I'm okay. I'm doing good." because you are. Because grief is okay. Grief is good. You need it. It's allowed.
And it's okay to laugh. It's okay to spend a day and realize that you haven't had that mind-numbingly empty feeling for a few hours. It's okay to be moving forward. It's okay to be healing and searching for normal and still have heartache. I think; that's what makes us human. That we are wonderfully complex and able to love and laugh and grief and ache all at the same time. It's okay to pray. It's okay to ask others to pray for you.

But if this happens to you. please, please, please - talk to someone. Your GP, your friend, your mother... your blog readers ;)... just someone. Let people know how you're feeling.

And drink tea.
Because that helps too.

Thanks for reading this. And if you're one of those out there praying for us: thank you. Thank you for caring and supporting and loving us. We are all grateful beyond words. Beyond expression. Thank you. Thank God for you. And please do believe me when I tell you "I'm okay. I'm moving forward." because I am.



  1. Trish,
    Our thoughts have been with you since the night you went into the hosptal. We've kept tabs on you throughout, via heyolman. We can't begin to feel what you feel with the loss of a child. I know as a Mom, I would be devastated. Know that you are in our loving thoughts & prayers as you recover and may the good Lord help you and Ryan through this sad time.
    Aunt Lou, Uncle Wayne, Jenn, Lindsay & Danielle xoxoxoxoxo

    1. Thanks. I know that I would not have made it through those first few days without all the kind thoughts, prayers, and help that we received. Tea.


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