Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lessons Learned

I have been thinking lately about abandoning this blog and only writing on our family blog. Except there are some things that I want to write about that aren't really about our family. Like the past few months.

The past few months have been difficult. At the beginning of October, I found out that I was pregnant. Right away, I got very sick. I started having terrible headaches and nausea. I had to go in my room and get rid of all stimulus--turn out the lights, shut the door, put on headphones with quiet music--just to feel like I could survive. It was so bad that I told Rich at the very beginning of December, "If I have a miscarriage, we are done, because I can't do this again."

On December 6, I started spotting. A visit to the doctor confirmed that I had a miscarriage. I had a D&C on December 7. That same week, Beth was baptized. Also, I had not done any of our Christmas shopping, so I had a ton of work ahead of me. I am thankful for helpful friends and an amazing visiting teacher who came to our family's rescue and provided meals and did almost all of the immediate errand running for the baptism. After the baptism, I began the exhausting job of doing all the Christmas shopping. Even with on-line shopping, I still had to do a bunch of shopping at Walmart and Target. In addition, Daniel had a basketball tournament and multiple basketball games. Thankfully, again, my visiting teacher helped me sit and wrap all our presents one night. What would we do without great friends and family for support?

During the month of December, my very favorite month of the whole year, I cried almost every day and felt on the verge of tears all the time. I got mad about things I normally let slide, and I snapped at people a lot. Part of my sadness came from disappointment at ending a pregnancy that took so long to begin. Part of me wondered if this was that final member of our family. If you have a miscarriage, has that baby received his or her physical body? (My kids said that would be pretty lame to only get 12 weeks in utero as a life experience.) I wondered if this was a sign that I was too old to have another baby.

By the few days leading up to Christmas, I had started spotting again and was feeling anxious and exhausted. I kept wondering how long it would take for my hormones to at least settle down a bit and for me to heal and feel better.

On Christmas Day, I took a 3 hour nap. The holiday sprint was finally over. Then I took a 3 hour nap the day after that. I have slept in every day this week, and I have laid around reading or watching old movies. I noticed the most amazing thing today. I haven't cried once this week. I have felt cheerful and peaceful. I am also feeling energetic and motivated. Maybe my tears and anxiety were due to hormones, or maybe grieving, but the were definitely due to fatigue.

Anyway, it feels so good to feel better! I feel so cheerful about the start of a new year. And I have learned some important lessons (that hopefully I will remember) from my recent experience:

1. It takes time physically to heal. I'm not sure what I could have done differently, but I obviously didn't give myself enough time to heal. Maybe not everyone needs as much time, but my body heals very slowly, and I have learned that I can allow myself time to sleep in, read and rest without feeling guilty.

2. I learned that people grow in love for us and are blessed when we allow them to serve us. I have been able to do a favor for my visiting teacher since she helped me so much, but mostly I have just been grateful to her and told her how much I appreciate her over and over. Heavenly Father puts people in our lives to serve us and bless us, and I am so grateful for that.

3. I feel peaceful about the future. I don't know what will happen, but this miscarriage has increased my ability to enjoy my family right now without spending lots of time and energy wondering about the future.

4. I feel so grateful for my family. I have taken for granted the ability to get pregnant easily, to carry a baby full-term, and to deliver eight healthy babies. I don't think I will take that for granted anymore. Not being able to get pregnant, as well as having this miscarriage, has made me understand that it is a privilege to have a baby, not a right.

5. Even though I suffered with morning sickness for two months for nothing, and even though I declared we were done and that I couldn't do this again, I still want another baby. And so do our children. And so does Rich, although I don't think he would take it as hard as I would if we can't. I am willing to leave it to the Lord, though. Once my body is healthy again, we'll just leave it up to Him and see what happens. My sister had 8 and my grandma had 8. Maybe 8 is our number. Or maybe not.