Deep in, Slow out

I wake up with a song in my head.
My body doesn’t ache or protest.
I stretch.
In the still darkness of morning I slip on some socks and a robe.
My feet carry me to the mat.
My favorite mug and journal patiently wait their turn beside me.
Healing breaths wash over me.
Deep in.
Slow out.
My feet kiss and my back arches.
I no longer feel hollow.
I’m both grateful and perplexed.
Grief is a coiled snake and yoga is my pungi.
It has been one month today.
My newborn heart is 30 days old.
It grew back, somehow.
Saturday is my birthday.
I should be 15 weeks.
Instead I am 29.
Just 29 and no weeks.
I sip my coffee and wipe a tear.
An apple candle flickers in the dark.
I am safe.
My cat sighs (no, really).
I am loved.
I forgot to be sad yesterday.
I am grateful.
The universe sent me a gift.
I am healing.
It’s peace.

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Namaste

I went to yoga yesterday for the first time.

It was, more or less, uneventful.

I cried, but crying at yoga isn’t an unusual thing for me. I mostly only go for the meditation and affirmations at the end of class, which always make me cry in the best way. The rest I can do at home; but I can never really reach the level of peace at home that I do when Judson is telling me to imagine the walls around my heart are crumbling. “Your heart begins to glow,” he says. “There’s no one you need to be. Nothing you need to do, but exist right here in this moment. Feel the earth holding you and just let go.”

Then comes the ugly cry and it feels SO GOOD. I’m a quiet (silent, actually. But that’s a post for another day) crier and so with a lavender eye bag protecting me and the lights turned down low this is the safest place I’ve ever found to cry with the comfort of community without any expectations. It is positively spiritual.

So I moved my body and forgave it. I forgave it for being terribly off balance and for my heels being too tight to touch the floor in downward dog. I forgave it for only being able to make a tiniest tree and for needing to sit in child’s pose through two sequences. I also forgave it for not telling me my baby was not progressing normally and for letting me believe I was pregnant longer than I was.

Ok. So maybe it wasn’t completely uneventful.

Baby steps.

Sidebar: I have ALMOST typed that phrase 10,000 times throughout this process of healing. Each time it gets caught in my fingertips, completely breaking my heart at the unintended and usually innocuous reference to a baby I will not have. Today, I type it. I embrace the pain because today I choose to be brave and feel everything. What is life, after all, if not a million moments to feel. Today I’m grateful I have these moments and I will fill them up with whatever comes my way.

Someday

Went back to work this week. The days have blurred together so much that I was genuinely surprised when it was suddenly Friday. Told Pen last night that the worst part about being sad is that even though there are many things in my life that make me happy, they all feel gray right now. All I can actually feel with any real intensity is the sad.

I am unsure if this feeling will last, but right now I can’t even fathom doing this again.

In just two weeks we’ve gone from being parents in 6 months to someday…

Someday after two months we could try again.

Someday after that we might feel ready.

Then someday after that I might get pregnant again.

And maybe that pregnancy might not end in heartbreak. But it also might.

Right now I don’t even want it, which is both untrue and terrifying because I feel it all the same.

I exist in two extremes. Completely and totally fine, and an absolute mess.

I cannot find a middle ground. I stuff it all deep down inside so I can survive my day, and then after a while (I’m averaging about 4 days) it all bubbles up.

Pillow soaked. Eyes red. Head ached. Heart broken.

With both versions being completely exhausting I can’t even pick a preference.

I feel inauthentic because I have been too afraid to be anything but the closed off version with anyone but Pen. I want to let my guard down but with what’s underneath being so consuming I’m not confident I could pull myself together in a timely manner. How exactly do you tell someone you kind of need to fall apart so that it doesn’t feel like you’re hiding it? Or worse still, running from it.

I totally am.

I’m afraid to do yoga. Before I took the cytotec pills last week I wept my way through a twenty minute session to prepare my body to let go. I prayed and cried and told my body aloud that it was okay to let go.

I haven’t dared even a down dog since.

I’ll let ya know how that works out for me.

My last pregnant day

Tomorrow marks two weeks since Pen and I walked into the doctor’s office to meet our baby. I don’t really want to talk about that day.

What I do keep thinking about is my last pregnant day. I keep going back to Labor Day, desperate to rewind. We were invited to BBQ with some friends who also happen to be the first family I nannied for. I usually don’t get to see them often enough, though I had actually visited them twice the week prior. The matriarch of the family, Leann, had told me about a kids consignment sale and offered to come along. I remember feeling touched when I realized she wasn’t even shopping for her own kiddos, but keeping me company while I excitedly shopped for baby Clouse. A few days earlier she and their oldest, Porter, had treated me to ice cream after dinner. That night we talked about baby names and souls and Porter said something that will never leave me. He pondered, at the wise old age of 10, that he thinks once a couple decides they really want a baby that the baby’s soul is made and waits for a body.

It’s strangely perfect that the child who helped me realize I wanted to be a mom would be the one to drop such a profound and comforting thought into my lap.

Less than a week later I would think back on those words and that moment with the first glimmer of hope I could muster. It’s hope that carries me, more often than not. At first I couldn’t imagine ever going through this again… But when the stakes are so high, how could you not? I want to be a mom now more than ever and there’s a Clousey soul I’m dying to meet.

So on my last pregnant day, we grilled kabobs and corn on the cob. We swam in a beautiful backyard pool and I lay on a raft soaking up the last bit of summer sun.

Oblivious that I would have a pregnant summer but no more; I listened eagerly to stories about birth and pregnancy cravings and daydreamed about what next Labor Day would look like, baby in hand. I thankfully imagined my kid growing up with such wonderful people to share these days with and sent up thankful prayers for the way a great job turned into extended family.

Two weeks later, I’m wistful. I realized yesterday I felt less sad and a little more like me and asked Paul if that was okay. Somehow moving forward feels terribly wrong and perfectly right all at once.

The Saturday after a Good Friday

I handled friday so well that when I woke this morning I nearly felt guilty. I spent Friday taking care of myself, painting and being loved on by my friends and husband. It was, all things considered, a pretty good day.

So when Saturday morning rolled around I expected that opening my eyes would bring more of the same. That I was “getting over it” and “moving on”. Healing, even.

I laid in bed with Pen and we chatted about what we would do. “Maybe visit that amazing deli in Maryville and rent a canoe at Concord park?” We mused. “I really want French toast,” I decided, “Let’s grab some breakfast at Pete’s and then go to the farmers’ market.” This went on for a bit. When we finally got out of bed I felt ok, but the guest room door was left open from when I had been trying to take the clothes off their hangers and put them into a tote. I didn’t get very far and Karma was so insistent on staying in the room that I left the door open and abandoned my cause all together. Cats aren’t very sensitive creatures.

Because I like to get things done I suggested we put away the clothes together. Maybe it’ll be easier together. Every outfit and onesie has a story and a memory of two brilliantly naive people that we don’t know anymore. Pen and I used our shopping jaunts as opportunities to gesticulate on the random ins and outs of parenthood; often resulting in long conversations in between the racks of pint sized clothes. So much hope.

We folded and cried and smiled, often over the same outfits and designs. When we were finished I curled up on the couch feeling devastatingly hollow. I turned on an episode of Weeds and stared out the patio doors. After a while Pen came to sit with me and from just a touch I shattered. We sat like that for too long.

“Let’s do something.” I finally mumbled.

“What would you like to do?”

“Nothing, but if it’s up to me we’ll do this all day and I don’t think that’s really a great idea.”

So we went.

Dinner: a couple margaritas for me and a mojito for him. There was probably food in there somewhere.

Hobby lobby: paint brushes I don’t need. A cute little shelf for mail and doorway miscellany. I have a coupon and a headache.

Pen suggests a movie. I don’t care about anything so I agree. We go to Target for snacks and I get a sweater so I won’t be cold. Ghiradelli chocolate covered cashews and red bull make their way onto the conveyer belt. Pen chooses twizzlers.

Guardians of the Galaxy is surprisingly good. I laugh. For two hours and 19 minutes I forget to be sad. It’s the best part of my day. I squeeze Pen’s hand. I’m so grateful for this man.

We lay in bed and decide that grief is almost involuntary. I feel it in my whole body and it’s exhausting. Pen suggests that my whole body is actually grieving. Our cells have a memory, he says. Yours are probably sad too. He’s absolutely right.

We fall asleep tangled together. We made it, I think. We’re making it.

Letting go

I haven’t been handling things the way people expect. Not that I care, because honestly I can’t really bring myself to care about anything right now.

The last few days I’ve felt… Dark. Brooding. Angry. Sardonic.

This, being a departure from every facet of my usually optimistic self, has unsettled more than a few. My husband isn’t sure how to respond and a dear friend of mine cried today while I sat stoically talking about my dead baby while sipping a pumpkin spice latte. I do kind of wish I could feel something… But this is better than the emptiness and despair of Tuesday, so I’ve accepted this phase of my grief with open arms. Maybe tomorrow I’ll feel something.

Got the official numbers today indicating that the pregnancy is no longer viable, and then a few hours later the official sign from my body that this pregnancy is irrevocably over. Strange that these things both happened on the same day. I’m grateful though… No more wondering. It was as if my body was waiting for me to let it go.

Great, I just found my feelings.

Fuck.

Dead is dead

Day two.

There’s nothing pretty or gentle about my day today. Woke up and had to remember all over again. Cried with my head in the sink as I washed my hair because stepping into the shower with the smudged off bath crayon exclamation “we’re having a baby!” was too much. Everything feels like too much today. My baby is dead and I can’t make these words pretty for you.

There are buckets of people wanting to know what I need. “What can I do?” They ask.

I wish I knew.