Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Sight of Blood

I'm not fainting; I'm terrified.

After my emergency room miscarriage in December I'd been anxious to get my body healthier and back on a normal schedule. I started making some big changes to my diet in late December as part of my “get healthier” goal. I don't do new year's resolutions because to me they've always seemed like well-intentioned empty promises. The irony that I made this big change in my life right before the new year is definitely not lost on me, but it was important enough that I dedicated myself to it.

I didn't know how long it would take for my cycle to return, and I decided I'd just be patient and not worry about it. I also decided not to worry about getting pregnant or preventing pregnancy. I wanted to focus on taking better care of myself so I could be a better wife, a better mom, a better me. I wanted to have more energy, to be physically strong and well, and to be happy. I also wanted to make sure that my body would be better prepared for carrying a baby to term when the time was right.

As time passed I realized it had been over a month since the miscarriage and I wondered when my body would resume it's regular cycle. I talked with a friend who'd had a miscarriage about month before my latest one, and we talked about cycles and feelings and everything that comes with the territory. It was really nice to have someone in a similar situation to talk with and share these things.

That very afternoon it came. There was blood, and I felt a sense of relief come over me. I wasn't pregnant, and I was fine with that. I was getting my period, which meant my body was getting back to normal, and hopefully a healthier normal. What I didn't expect was the feelings that would come over me the next day.

The bleeding started out dark brown, like old blood, and gradually became brighter and heavier. As time went on, over the period of a day, my anxiety levels gradually rose. I almost didn't notice it at first. A post I wrote about my miscarriage happened to publish on my blog that day and I read it and relived some of the memories and feelings from it. Every time I went to use the bathroom I had to face the blood, and I found myself absorbed in it. I was checking for clots, examining the color, the thickness, the texture (yes, I touched it), and the smell. You read that right, I smelled it. I wanted to be sure of what my body was doing.

I was exhausted and having cramps, which isn't typical for me during menstruation. The cramping hurt worse on one side than the other, and I found myself panicking. I even called my midwife to ask if the one-sided pain was normal. She told me not to worry, and to put on a heating pad and rest. That was exactly what I wanted to do, and I did.

In the back of my mind I couldn't get the thought out of my head that maybe I'd unintentionally become pregnant again and was having yet another miscarriage, or worse an ectopic pregnancy. While possible, this was unlikely. I kept telling myself that this was just my body getting back into a healthy rhythm and it was a good thing, but I couldn't quite make myself believe it.

I thought I'd been doing so well until that point. I'd coped with my loss primarily through writing and sharing my story, and I'd managed to pull myself out of a deep depression and started making positive changes in my life. I'd been feeling better until this slapped me in the face.

It made me realize how vulnerable we are as women, and even as human beings. We can't just go through something difficult and traumatic and expect to move on without any repercussions. Things impact us on an emotional level and they don't just go away. It reminds me of a book I read years ago called Feelings Buried Alive Never Die. It taught me that we have to face and deal with our feelings in order to properly process them and grow from them in positive ways. When we try to bury or hide our feelings they don't really go away. They can pop back up at any point and rear their ugly heads.

I don't think I was necessarily burying my feelings after my miscarriage, but I think that grieving happens in stages and waves. I think I was dealing with my loss as well as I could, and I've had to peel back the layers of emotions that are there. I'm pretty sure I'm not done grieving, but I think that's OK. I feel like this is part of my healing, as hard and debilitating as it can be at times, and that it's important to honor myself and my feelings and face them head on.

So this is me, right here and right now, facing them.


  1. No words seem adequate but I am praying and sending love to you.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I had a miscarriage right before Christmas and at the time I felt like I was handling things really well. Yet now almost a month later I am finding that it is harder for me now. Thank you for reminding me that sometimes we just need to look our fears in the face and conquer them. Thank you for your honesty and willingness to share.

  3. I think this is completely normal and understandable. You have some strong emotions tied in with your body and blood after your miscarriage. I have read a great book, The Emotion Code which talks about how you can release these trapped emotions. It is along the same lines of EFT (emotional freedom technique) but it seems easier to me.

    If you want more information or even want to do a phone session (I am training to be able to do this and need to practice on 30 people) let me know! If you are willing to be a practice person. :)

    Anyway, just wanted to share my hugs.

  4. Sheridan, I am completely open to that! I've heard of The Emotion Code, but I haven't tried it myself.

  5. The Emotion Code is awesome. I went to Dr. Brad's seminar last year and it was life-changing. It has helped me release some trapped emotions from my own miscarriage as well as many, many other things. I highly recommend reading the book and applying what you learn.