Tag Archives: miscarriage and crohn’s

Nov. 14

This week marked the due date for the baby I miscarried earlier this year. Pretty grim, I know. I’m doing really well in terms of getting past what happened, but couldn’t help but be hyper-aware of this date.

 

It just so happened I developed a huge cold this week and spent the day in bed (working, thanks to my laptop and awesomely flexible boss) but feeling snotty and nasty and cough-y and gross. It was a welcome distraction.

 

I can’t help but think how different life would be right now if things didn’t happen that way, and if we had a teeny new baby in the apartment right now. I know it wasn’t right somehow, I know that we will have another baby sometime, and if we can’t then we’ll adopt one. But it’s also just so important to me that I take the time to stop and remember this little baby that DID have a heartbeat and was my baby even only for a few weeks.

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Running Therapy

I’m trying hard to go about my life, but I keep having to go to doctors and get blood tests and put everything on hold because of my stupid body. In other words, same old. But this time, it’s not because of Crohn’s.

As those who’ve been reading know, I started running about two months ago. I’ve been doing Chubby Jones’ couch to 5k in an effort to get in shape and not lose my mind. But a few weeks ago, my knee started to hurt while I was running. Then it started to hurt even when I wasn’t running. So here I go again to the doctor, but this time it’s the orthopedist. And at the same time, I’m still doing my weekly blood tests that I’ve had to do since the miscarriage, so they can see if my hormone levels are still raised. (Ben and Jerry’s can tell you based on how well their stock is doing that yes indeed my hormones are still raised, but that’s another topic, thankyouverymuch Chocolate Therapy.)

Image from Ben & Jerry’s website.

Anyway. Since I was diagnosed with Crohn’s about a decade ago, going to the doctor is pretty much old hat. But for the first time in a while I’m going and I don’t really feel confident that I know what I’m doing. Should I be going to an orthopedist or Dr. Max, my rheumatologist? Does my knee hurt because of the running, my stupid Crohn’s, or the miscarriage maybe? So I’ve been doing what any geek worth her salt does today – crowdsourcing. I’ve been asking EVERYONE’s opinion. My sister, who runs triathlons, told me I’ll have to get an orthopedist someday so may as well do it now. My friend Eugene, who does Tough Mudder (crazy bastard) thought it was weird that I was having knee problems and told me that I should be having shin splints instead. My friend Mo, who doesn’t run but does have RA and takes Humira like I do, told me I shouldn’t be running at all and that instead I should ride a bike. He’s never seen me try to ride a bike, so I can’t blame him for the recommendation. But watching me trying to ride a bike is like watching a toddler try to send an email. It’s a little cute, mostly awkward, you know it’s not going to work and probably someone is going to get hurt. Last time we went for a little afternoon ride, a man my dad’s age in a car pulled over to shout encouragement out his window – it was that clear to passing motorists that I was a mess. Anyway.

So I made an appointment for next Friday at the orthopedist’s, and I’m going to give Dr. Max a call today. I’m also going to see my new GI next week, so I feel like I have all the bases covered.

Because here’s the thing – I need to keep running. Before I started, I was sliding into a deep dark place that I don’t think I could have gotten out of any other way. I joke that running has saved my sanity, but joking aside – running has saved my sanity.

My Super Sister

If running was AA, my sister would be my sponsor. She answers all my questions, sends me inspiring texts, and generally keeps me on the running wagon.

She’s the person who knows me well enough to have said “Running is great, you don’t have to buy anything to start – you just need a pair of shoes. Plus, you can buy all this great running gear!”‘

But that’s not even the half of it. Because even though she lives far away and even though she is responsible for her 1-year-old, when I had the miscarriage she came right away bearing sympathy and jokes and ice cream. I’m the big sister and she’s the little sister, and yet she came and took care of me. And she continues to do so, checking in and just making sure I’m ok.

And it’s the running – which she’s helping me with – that has helped me stay sane. I think I’m handling everything pretty well but it still hurts a lot. I still have blood tests every week and I still have that little bit of leftover belly and I still have my daughter asking me, whenever she sees a pregnant woman, if that lady’s baby is going to die. So as counter to my personality as it is, I still admit I need that little bit of support. But I don’t have a little bit, I have a lot.

Thanks, Sis. I wish I could buy you Lululemon‘s entire summer line. And fall line and winter line and spring line.

I’m also so grateful to my parents, my brother and my friends who turned out in droves to support our family. Every single bit has helped so much.

So Slow

I’m on week 3 of couch to 5k with Chubby Jones. I’m so slow it takes me a week and a half to do each week. I’m so slow it takes me 45 minutes to do a 20 minute session. I’m so slow that I walk faster than I run.

 

But, my tummy is just about flat again. And I RAN THREE MINUTES STRAIGHT today. TWICE! Holy frijoles, anyone who knows me knows that’s nothing short of a miracle.

 

At the beginning of my run I was feeling some very negative thoughts, mostly centering around that I wasn’t sure if I could do it, and also that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep this up ongoing. What about winter, when it’s cold and icy outside, how will I run then? Will I ever even be able to do a 5k? And so on. My first 90-second run was horrible. I was panting and couldn’t catch my breath. And it was all because of the negativity. So during the next 90 seconds as I walked, I gave myself a pep talk. It went something like this: “Actually, I can do this, because I thought I couldn’t before I even started and look at me now. And you know what? F**k that miscarriage. F**k Crohn’s. F**k it all, I’m going to do this, and I’m going to ace it.”

 

And I’m not kidding – I aced that three minute run.

 

I was slow. But I did it.

Becoming at Peace With a Body’s Betrayal

Having an autoimmune condition, you’d think you’d get used to being betrayed by your body. That you’d know you can’t always depend on it to do the right thing, or to work right. You’d think so.

And yet last month, as I laid down on the exam bed, 12 weeks pregnant, and my doctor could no longer find my baby’s heartbeat, I was surprised, like I never thought my body would betray me in this way. Crohn’s, sure. But this?

At my 8 week exam I watched as that tiny heart fluttered on the screen and I cried with extreme joy. I’d gotten pregnant so fast that I wasn’t even sure we were ready, but we were so happy. My stomach grew faster than it had with our daughter, so by 11 weeks I began telling people the news. Not everyone, but people at the daycare to make sure we’d have a spot secured for #2, and people at work who may realize I had a bump.

And that’s the thing, the bump. The doctor told me that the fetus had expired at about 9 weeks. But I had no idea. My body continued to grow. I still felt nauseated and tired. I still felt pregnant. My body told me I was pregnant. My body lied, and lied, and lied to me, for weeks.

In the days following this revelation, as I tried to understand what was happening, as I went back into the hospital for the D&C, as I recovered at home and answered emails and calls from friends and family who’d heard… I just couldn’t stand to look at myself. My stomach was still big. Before I’d learned that I’d miscarried, I’d look at my little bump and smile, so warm and happy that we were having another baby. And after, it seemed somehow bigger, and ugly, and wrong. I wanted it gone. I longed for the flat stomach I’d had when I was 20, before I’d even had kids. I dragged an old college sweatshirt from the back of my closet because it hid my stomach. But I still couldn’t get away, because like it or not, you’re stuck in your body.

And there was a bigger reason for all of this, this hating my stomach. It was when my daughter put her hand on it and asked, “is your stomach getting bigger or smaller,” as she had asked frequently over the past weeks. For the first time I had to respond in a new way. “Smaller,” I said. She looked up at me. “Why did the baby die?” she asked.

After that, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t want to be in any situation where my daughter could see my stomach. Or where anyone could see it.  I’d exercise and do situps, but counter-productively I’d gorge on junk food like I never had before. And I shopped like money was water, going online and ordering any and all clothes that looked like they’d offer a good disguise. Baggy shirts, printed dresses, leggings that didn’t push on the hated bump like an annoying finger reminding me of what I’d lost.

And then, one day, it hit me. Until then, for some reason, I didn’t realize the simple fact: I was mad at my body for betraying me. I was feeling this way but hadn’t put it into a clear thought. This unspoken anger and hurt I was feeling was about my body. And when I realized this, that my anger was toward my body, that’s when I began to forgive it.

I’m still exercising every morning, and I’m still shopping for flattering clothes, but I’ve slowed down on the shopping and slowed down on the junk food as well. My body betrayed me, but it’s the only one I’ve got. And I need to get it in shape if I’m going to try again – and I am, we are – we’re going to try for another baby. But not yet. I’m not fully at peace with my body, my post-pregnancy but not post-baby body. I need a little more time. But at least I know now that this time, while it was terrible, what my body has done is not unforgivable.