Not me. Not this time.

HappyBirthdayMy Love

I have never been the one to mess with. I have either always knew the rule or researched it enough to know whether my stance on the matter was right or wrong. Health/ dental insurance don’t mess with me.  I know my contract in and out. I know what I am “entitled to”.

“But Dacia, you’re a millennial, you’re not entitled to anything!

I am a ten year Army veteran. I have earned my health and dental plans. (But really they are my husband’s work’s so shut up. Yes I have ‘earned’ them)

So let me tell you women something. You do not have to agree with what they tell you.

You don’t have to go along because you don’t know any better

You can learn negative and detrimental things of you own past that bring to light something you held at high regard.

You can learn that ‘”protection” might not have actually saved you from the danger of your own family.

You can learn that after 32 years of existence, what you thought you had built your own foundation  on was a lie or was kept a secret from you, in hopes that it would go away.

I feel ashamed and defensive. I feel like I am owed the truth on the matter before I go chiseling at the details.

I feel that being so comfortably removed from the situation has, yes, saved me from the physical hurt that others have experienced but also left the remaining victims silent in their recovery, personal remorse, and unable to anonymously share their side of the story.

Ladies- You are not alone. Many have felt this pain. It is not my story to tell, but if you can help others by stepping up, then maybe it’s worth it.

It is time that you have felt this validation. That YOU know that you are loved despite the things that happened to you.

I grew up so far removed. My memories are locked in the photos I own. I try to apply principles to my own little family that has very different dynamics.

If you can please help me to understand why women lay so vulnerable to men;   not allowing their own voices to be heard. Why do you place your husband above the love of your children? Then I may be able to sleep tonight.

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The Mountain Climb!

Miscarriage is devestating. I know I’ve told my stories about my struggles with fertility, but please know that though it is extremely common, it is heartbreaking to lose a child. I went through a cycle of feeling dead inside and hated myself, too. But we don’t have to suffer alone. This post was written by my sister. Love you girl. Welcome back!

ladyandrea81

My husband James and I have been married for 7 years and in 7 years our one goal was to become parents. The sooner we could start planning and making that dream become reality, the happier we would be. I had no idea Infertility was a thing or that we would have issues. The question “Why Me” has been asked and I still ask that question. Every year our resolution is to have a baby. That’s our wish, the one thing our hearts desire for is to be a Mommy and Daddy to our very own children. We have a fur daughter Aubrey but we would love nothing more than for Aubrey to be a Big sister.

We had a hunch that this year would be “Our Year”, the year that our dream would in fact come true. The New Year started and we knew our appointment with a Specialist…

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Mom Snark

 

Like any hobbyist, I have dreams of grandeur. I envision myself being noticed by a publishing company and paid to blog full time. I can see myself with Little Miss on my hip, yelling some strange demand of my son like, “Don’t put legos in your butt!!!” Laughing to myself and writing it down for material to post at a later time. I would sit home all day just thinking of quick witted things and how I would work them into a post to make other moms laugh and tell their friends, “I know exactly what she means.”

Today is one of those days where my cup is 3/4 full. I hate this emotional roller coaster I am on, but the good days are so much better than the rough ones. I have plenty to accomplish at work and the blessing from Husband to work a little late today. I remembered to set something out for dinner before I left which I don’t even really mind cooking when I get home (but probably won’t). All in all, today I feel like I have my shit together.

With my history as a Soldier, it is fun to find projects at work that allow me to relive my glory days in the Combat Support Hospital. Though my time of patient care are long gone, I am beginning to walk a path of physical security in the facility that I work. Now all the the paranoid thoughts I have about bombs and shootings in my work place are being put to good use. I feel like I have that rush of being well trained to handle anything. My dad says you can never be ready, but you can be prepared. Using my brain for this kind of critical thinking gets my blood pumping. Totally nerding out. lol

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Today, however, will be loading with organizing payroll for about 400 people. Tomorrow will be maintenance of the same. I’ll still find a way to feel accomplished maybe write some fiction during my pumping breaks. Hope everyone has a great day.

What I left behind

218205_1554589639473_4580361_oMost weeks I get the opportunity to tell young nurses or CNAs about my medical background. I tell them while they fill out a short paper with their demographics that they do not have to look up and to just listen. I explain my role here at the hospital of reviewing and correcting payroll, ordering supplies, and the basic administrative roll of two inpatient units. I tell them I am a mother of a son at home and a girl on the way. I tell them that before I was all of that I served in the Army for ten years. I worked in Baghdad Emergency Room for over a year and my second deployment I was a manager of an outpatient clinic. I tell them that I have seen, smelt, IVed, sutured, splinted, scrubbed, and wiped it all. I tell them that when they have questions, they do not have to dumb things down for me (after all, I have seen more trauma in one month in Baghdad than most of them in their entire careers) but assure them that my scope has been limited to acute care and that they doing something I vowed never to do: do inpatient care.

I separated from the military because my contract was over and I was tired. Yes, I was half way to retirement, but by that time my son was one and I really just hated that he had to share me. That my husband had to share me. That as long as I wore a uniform, they would always come second.

Here is a list of things I left behind when I left the Army. Some good, some bad, but I do not regret it for a second.

  1. Structure This is something everyone at work will say I never left behind. I might not have left it out of what I can control, but it is the lack of structure everywhere else that is missing. Core Values are no longer universal. Schedules are not honored. Integrity is not something most people have. There is no check and balance process either. If something fails, then it fails, and it is not only okay but acceptable.
  2. Patient Care I am so done with patient care. Not that I am inhumane, or lack compassion. It is the opposite. When I was younger, I gave so much of myself that at the end of the day there was nothing left. I had no boundaries and I would never say no. When I wore the uniform, it was my duty to never say no. I followed orders. Today, I find a healthy medium in helping those who help others. I finally let my EMT certification expire without the intent to renew ever. I will never touch a patient as a healthcare provider again, but I will do the shit out of some paperwork.
  3. Being Publicly Naked or Watching People Pee This might seem strange to begin with, but seriously, nothing is sacred. If the showers are only open for 30 minutes and 40 women need to share 8 stalls, you just make stuff happen. The only other place this occurs is probably prison. I have no intentions on ever visiting. As for the pee, to ensure that women do not cheat on urinalysis, one must physically watch urine leave the body and land into a cup. This is the ONLY way to make sure. There is no way to get around how awkward the whole situation is for all parties involved. *shudders*
  4. Sexual Harassment This could be its own post. And maybe I have just grown out of it in age and dress size, but the atmosphere of the military harbors a sexual humor that can easily be abused. Some guys went to college and raped people, others joined the military. Some are famous comedians, others are colonels. I am happy to say that where I work now, these things are not as prevalent.  That and as I have matured, I speak up more and louder than ever that these things are never okay.
  5. Sense of Team My boss is my boss. My coworkers are coworkers. They call me when they need something and for the most part I stay in my office and say hi in passing. Since I am not a nurse, and do not share similar personal or professional goals as most of them, I am not so much a part of that team. If i was in a different state and some one was wearing a t shirt of the organization I work, I would not feel comfortable approaching that person. We never worked together. Its a big facility. We probably have nothing in common. But when I go somewhere away from home and see someone in a uniform, there is instantly the sense of trust and commonality. I can look at their sleeves and know where they have been. I know that if something were to go down in that particular place and time, that we could communicate in a way to save as many people as possible. That is what we do. Most people do not have this in their blood. To us, it is second nature.
  6. A Forced Body Standard This is a love hate relationship. I lack the discipline to workout consistently on my own and I know that. I also know that I do not have the stress of meeting any kind of BMI standards and do and eat whatever I want. I miss being fit and being good at running. I do not miss doing it. Too sorry that I am not sorry.
  7. Not owning ANYTHING In the military, you do not own your house, time, family, car, phone, sleep, food, I could go on forever. You own nothing. Everything about your life is subject to inspection at the drop of a dime. I have had to inspect people’s homes for cleanliness. I’ve had to meticulously comb personal budgets and set up payment plans for their debts. I have served people divorce papers. I have even personally and physically removed children from their home and placed them in protected custody. I hold no degree or formal licensing to do any of these things, but as a 20 something year old leader, I was deemed the guiding voice of reason for my subordinates. Let someone come into my house and tell me to take out my own trash. I now have the freedom to tell someone where they can stick that trash and remove them from my home. Doing that under military contract is a good way to lose about 1/2 of your pay for two months. Oh, you do not even own the money you work for.

 

There are various reasons why people stay. Medical benefits and retirement are HUGE factors in today’s economy. Job security is kind of iffy and depending on who you vote for is extremely uncertain. I really do not lose any sleep knowing where I am now is where I am supposed to be and where I am going is far from the life I knew.

In 8 short weeks, I will have a daughter. If my mother’s curses prevail, she will be exactly like me. This is terrifying. As terrifying as my mother sending her little girl off to war. TWICE. I can only hope that I can teacher what I have learned through my life in a way she can respect and appreciate, because one day she will leave me behind to fight her own wars.

 

Special Delivery

With the expectation of having this little girl in the next few months, it has caused me to rethink everything that happened with my previous delivery. If you want to know all the details of my experience in the birth of Jude; minus the gross, dive right in.

When I think back to the birth of my son I have very few good memories of the experience. Not just because the entire experience was extremely unpleasant, but because the quality of the memories have deteriorated over time. What should have been the most magical moment of my life was over shadowed by a series of poor choices and a veil of self-preservation.

My husband and I lived in Colorado Springs with our beagle, Watson. Due to a slight rise in my blood pressure, it was recommended by my midwife to induce labor and deliver a couple of days before my due date. I was relieved to have the end in sight. I was a miserable pregnant person. Even though the entire pregnancy was fairly easy and my list of symptoms were so short: tired, heartburn, mild back pain and irritability; I hated almost every minute that I served host to my son. I was beyond ready for his arrival.

We had arranged for Watson to stay with a friend of mine until we were settled back in with our new addition. As I was getting him ready, I felt as if I had peed my pants a little. I turned to my husband and told him to go ahead and grab the bags.

“Either I peed myself or my water broke. I’m not sure.” I was pretty sure that I had not peed my pants. It had never happened to me before, but as a precaution I went to the bathroom to empty my bladder. When I was done, I walked out and felt it again. As an adult, I would like to think I would recognize the difference between the movement of liquid from my urethra or otherwise. So I called the triage line and tried my best to explain the situation.

“Are you sure? Was there a big gush of fluid? Is it sweet smelling?” I was sure the nurse assisting me had been through this plenty of times. “If it was your water, you would know.”

“No, it was just a little and I didn’t really sniff it.” What a weirdo asking me what my potential pee smelled like.

He reassured me that there was no rush and to come at my regular time. I grabbed the dog, yelled an “I love you” to the mister and headed out the door. No sooner than Watson jumped into the truck, but I felt a huge gush of water. I took the dog out of the truck and went back inside.

“Honey, you might as well come drop the dog off with me. My water definitely broke and we’re probably not coming home tonight.” I helped the best I could with loading my bag, baby’s bag, and dog into the truck. I sent text messages to close friends and family to let them know what was about to go down. As I stared out the window watching headlights pass in the dark, I wondered how bad contractions were really going to be because I had felt nothing in the way of movement.

Going to the hospital immediately was my first mistake. I might have a completely different story to tell had I stayed home and waited for labor to start, but I was told by the military facility to come in if my water broke. As a soldier, I really did not feel like I had a choice in the matter. Had I disobeyed the doctors, I could have been punished.

We arrived and spent an hour and a half in a triage room waiting for them to test a swab of my water. Upon confirmation we waited another forty-five minutes for shift change to finish before they assigned us a room. I was hooked up to a monitor and IVs and checked for dilation. I was only dilated one centimeter. The decision was made to start a medication to begin contractions that would help progress labor. I endured nine hours of hard contractions that would taper off, while my husband tried to sleep. After the standing dosage of medication was exceeded, the doctor came in to check my progress. I was only 2 centimeters and the medication was not helping at all. The decision was made to up the dosage and continue labor but I could not. I requested an epidural.

The room was so dark. I had no sense of the time. Getting the epidural dropped my blood pressure so dramatically that I nearly passed out. I was exhausted and getting nowhere fast, but I could finally sleep. I do not remember talking to my husband much. I remember that he was always there but he was never at my side as we were just waiting for the party to start. They would check me three more times over five hours with little to report.

After eighteen hours, I developed a fever and started throwing up. My contractions were irregular and I had only progressed to 4 centimeters, not nearly. My husband was watching the second period of a hockey game when the doctor came in. He informed us that I had developed an infection in my amniotic fluid. It was making me sick and my son was having a hard time. I had not progressed despite the aggressive amount of medication and the next step was to conduct an emergency caesarian section and just be done with it. He did not look or sound sorry. He was very matter of fact.

I began to cry. Everything seemed so cold and my body was tired. My husband stood up, smiled at me, clapped his hands and said, “Yeah, let’s do this!” This only made me cry more.

“Can we just talk about this? This is not what I wanted.”

“Hun, the doctor said the baby is getting sick. It’s almost over. That and so is the game. If the Pittsburgh Penguins win, we can name our son Sydney Crosby Arnold.”

I did not want to joke. I wanted everything to be over. Having been in the medical field for a decade, I had assisted in caesarian births. I knew what and how things happened. I knew that I would not feel anything but my body would be jerked and pulled and torn open to make way for this little person into the world. My husband was handed operating room garb, and I was laid flat on my back, and given additional medication and continuous oxygen. I could not control my body. My arms shook and all I could feel was cold. They insisted my husband wait until they got me onto the operating table before he could join me.

They moved me from the portable hospital bed to the operating table. I was not able to assist in moving my own body. They raised a curtain at my chest; this would keep me from seeing the surgery. My arms were spread straight out to either side and restrained to the table. I continued to shake uncontrollably. I remember the anesthesiologist talking to me; maybe about what he was doing or what was going on. All I wanted to do was sleep; only then I could relax enough to stop shaking. My husband entered the room and was directed to sit next to my head, so as to not see over the curtain.

“Pens won, Honey.” His voice smiled but I did not see his face. I might have said something back that was not nice. I knew he was joking but I was more or less angry that he disturbed my rest.

I laid there for what seemed like hours; my body being forcefully pulled this way and that. I envisioned what it looked like, I wish I did not know what was happening. I began to wonder if I would ever hear him cry and was getting anxious.

“Hey, Dad.” The doctor beckoned my husband on the forbidden side of the curtain and then I was alone; waiting.

Finally a screech. A Wail. A CRY! He was here. They bought him over for me to see, but I did not. I could see him but I do not own this memory any more. I cannot remember what it was like to see my very first child for the very first time. And just like that he was whisked away again, because of the infection, he required antibiotics and monitoring.

Alone. My husband had stayed with my son because at the time, this was the most important thing. After more tugging and pulling, they transferred me back to the hospital bed, somehow I was dressed. They must have helped me. I had no feeling in the lower half of my body, and I continued to shake.

They wheeled him in, and huddled over my boy. My husband close behind. He was perfect and healthy, but I could not stop shaking enough to hold him. Another hour would pass as I attempted to hold a drink to my own mouth without spilling. Finally, when I was steady enough to accomplish that task, I asked for him. He had been alive for nearly two hours before I touched him for the first time.

Looking back now, I should have waited until I was in labor to go to the hospital. I should not have had any internal exams until well into having regular contractions as this is what introduced the infection. I should not have been given medications to progress my labor and allowed to labor on my own; this caused me to have severe contractions but nothing more. If I had not been given the medication to progress labor, I would not have required an epidural for the extreme pain which rendered the previous medication useless and stopped all progression. If I had known better, I would not have required a caesarian section surgery to deliver my son. I would have gotten to hold him right away and possibly even remember the first time I ever laid eyes on my perfect boy.

With my daughter due in a couple of months, I realize that this will be the last time I carry and deliver a child. I has become increasingly important to me that I do not relive the vague horror of my son’s birth. Though I am happy that he is here and would go through it again, I have learned far too much to let something so avoidable happen again.

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The first time I ever held him.

 

I Lost My Best Friend (Christmas 2010)

10301125_10152397267360932_2355302407718459426_nChristmas in Iraq happens about 18 hours before it does back home. Being in a third world country was difficult but I had to try extra hard on holidays to keep it together. In the spirit of Christmas I volunteered for midnight guard duty to allow my soldiers time to contact family. As I prepared for work I opened my lifeline to home; my laptop. My best friend was online and told me about her festivities the next morning. Sam told me that she and Tim were getting a long pretty well while wrapping presents. She also said she was thinking of leaving him. I encouraged her to throw his things on the lawn immediately, but she wanted to wait until after Christmas; for the kids.

Supporting Sam’s relationship with Tim was hard. I knew that she would do what she wanted and that she just needed someone in her corner. I was always there because she was for me. I needed her as much as she needed me. So I bowed down to her decision and said that the 26th is a great day as any. We sent our love across the ocean through the internet. She got back to her wrapping, and I geared up for patrol.

It was only a four hour shift, however my company was not my favorite. A female superior who really had it out for me most of the time. I was lucky that night, though. Perhaps the Christmas spirit reached her, too. We talked about her grown kids and what they were doing for the holidays. I told her about my fiancé and me getting married in less than a month when I would fly home. We were eloping and only my best friend was going to be in attendance to witness. My fiancé and Sam were my circle. The two constants in my life. I needed them both equally. While I was in Iraq, my fiancé was in Afghanistan. Our commands agreed to let us take vacation at the same time. The plan was to fly home together, get married with Sami there, and fly back to finish out our tours overseas in different areas of combat.

The four hour shift came and went with nothing to report. We gave a briefing to the oncoming patrol and we made our way back to the living area. I checked my lifeline and saw that there were quite a few messages on my social media. All very urgent to call so and so. There is an emergency and Sam had told them to call me first.

I had the very worst thoughts in my head to prepare myself for what was probably something overly dramatized. I put my gear back on and walked to my office. I used a calling card to call a mutual friend of mine and Sam.

“Tim shot and killed Sam, Dacia. Sami is dead.” Her voice broke. I collapsed to the floor sick and weak. My body could not hold the grief. I must have screamed something terrible because night shift workers came running to me. I am sure they asked me, but all I could feel was sick. And then denial. I had to call my friend back; I must have hung up on her. I needed to correct her and tell her there was a mistake. I had just talked to Sam. Someone had given her wrong information. There was no way in the world Sam was gone. She could not be gone.

“No. NO.” I pleaded with her. She was fine. Everything was fine. She was not gone. My friend insisted that she was there when they took Sam off life support.

“Dacia, honey. There was nothing they could have done. He shot her point blank in the temple. I am so sorry, Honey. I am so sorry.” We cried silently for a long time. Occasionally I could mutter the word “no”.

“I have to go now.” I told her. I felt so empty. All the sands of the desert resided in my gut. I did not want to talk. I did not want even breath. I did not want to be alone and I did not want to sleep. I was terrified that her ghost would confront me for not knowing the danger she was in. It was paralyzing. I did not work for three days. I did not eat for longer. I was lost.

Sam left behind six children. They were all in the house when it happened. The oldest heard her mother and Tim arguing. She walked in on them. Tim had Sami by the hair and a gun in his hand. Sam told her daughter to get the baby and take the kids in the basement.

“Call 911.” Sam knew. She knew he was going to kill her. When the children were in the basement, locked in the bathroom, her daughter called 911. Then they heard it. All six of them. They lost their mother forever.

In the days following, those children were everyone’s focus. I poured out everything I could for them, being so far away. My friend assisted in keeping them all together, as they had different fathers. Then suddenly it was understood that I knew everything about the physical abuse leading up to Sam’s murder, and that I did nothing to stop it. The truth is Sam hid it from me. I try to think back over conversations thinking maybe she had hinted. What if she really did tell me and I did not hear her. I was excommunicated from her family. I did not fight it. It was not about me. The focus had to be on those children. Whoever they had to blame for closure, it did not matter. But I never got closure.

My wedding day came and went and before I knew it I was back in that third world country surrounded by dirt and death. The days would drag on and I fell deeper and deeper into depression. I lost more weight than I should have and eventually started passing out. After the third incident I was sent home to be medically tested for a more serious condition. I was ready to go. My soul was tired. I could not handle many more weeks in that depression.

It took me a long time to be able to do anything once I was home. I could not go to certain places or drive down particular roads. I was scared I would bump into someone and they would ask me how I was doing; or accuse me of knowing.

“You might as well have pulled the trigger yourself.” Was sent to me in an email. I would reflect on everything she ever said to me; all the songs she would sing at karaoke should have given it away.

“I was so young, you should have known better than to lean on me…” We would duet this song. That was my part. It was always my part. It will always be my part. To this day, I have never reached out to her family for closure.

Even after the short years it has been, I have come to the conclusion that I lack the emotional capacity to truly hate. I had no energy left to wish any evils on Tim for taking my friend. His sentencing finally came and with much disappointment of mutual friends, he only received a fifteen year term in prison. That very moment I realized that if it were five years or fifty, it would not fill the gaping hole in my heart. I will not draft letters to him about my pain. I will not check on his parole status. I will not look him up when he is out of prison to make him answer for what he did.

I take abuse of all kinds very seriously, now. I listen when people mention their spouses or significant others; maybe I would check the hints Sam tried to give me. I think that she has visited me on occasion but not frequently. This past holiday, at 11:30pm on Christmas Eve my living room television came on by itself, volume turned up, on a channel with static. I knew it was her, but it spooked my husband so bad he could not sleep. I have gradually healed from this great loss, but I have a scar on my heart that is named after her. She will always be there.

 

 

 

Reflection (Required for my assignment. I left it attached this time because I really think it gives insight to the writing.)

I have never taken the time to get this out of my body and onto paper. I have told the story a few times but never so permanently as writing. The story itself seems so cliché of domestic violence, but there was a sense of necessity to tell the story because it truly belonged to me; it was not just something you read in the news that happened to someone else.

I used Kick-Start number eight for this writing. I knew by just remembering where I was, what I was doing, and how I felt at the time that the words would flow onto the screen. The most liberating part was including the physical feelings I had when I found out. I never told anyone the real reason I stopped sleeping and why I did not want to be alone. I never told anyone about feeling of collapsing onto the floor. I really hung up on my friend after she told me. I guess I panicked. I never told anyone how utterly desperate I was for her to be wrong, and how I tried to convince her from Iraq that she did not see what she saw and it was someone else.

This course has taught me quite a bit about my own writing style. It has brought out some strength and exposed some weaknesses that are now hard to ignore. All of the lessons have really boiled down to this one essay. I knew I had to write it one day, I am just thankful that I had the tools to do so. Creative nonfiction has really opened my eyes to a more colorful way of expressing myself daily. Poetry has helped me pull some of the emotion that I normally lack in writing and add depth and better description to my pieces. Playwriting helped me become immersed in dialogue; something else I try to avoid in writing. The short story is where I thrive, have the most fun, and my default genre of writing when I have the choice. Creative writing was the only reason I started going back to school.

I think a memoir holds a special place in literature. I know there are so many stories in my life worth telling. I believe this genre really allows anyone to tell their side of the story, include their heart and soul, and really help people understand what they truly went through. A lot of history can be told through personal experiences.

Below is a link from the local news.

http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/tag/samantha-marie-miller/

A Crack In My Armor

  January of this year I pissed on a stick. Pregnant. We had only been trying for two months and, even then, we weren’t trying that hard. I had so many symptoms from heartburn and nausea to the worst case of tender breasts ever. All the signs were there, our second child was just as planned and welcome as the first. We were happy and I could not keep pregnancy a secret to save my life. Our first pregnancy had gone off without a hitch, so why would this one be any different?

We sat down with my dad, brother, and their families to share the wonderful news. My step-mother was very weary about us sharing the news so soon, and at that point I was only 5 weeks and had not had a blood test. They were all happy but no one had their hopes as high as I did.

At the end of January, my father-in-law came to visit and accompanied us to California to visit my husbands mother and brother. The first day of our trip had started very early. We also gained an hour of daylight and walked everywhere. We stayed on the “Queen Mary” docked in Long Beach. (Imagine Titanic still afloat). Finally, that evening we planned dinner with the family. We put a shirt on our son that read BIG BROTHER and took his jacket off at the table and waited for anyone to notice. Mom thought it was a joke about the government. Let me tell you, it is not so exciting when you have to explain it. They were very happy with the news and I was very happy to explain how utterly exhausted I was.

The week in California was wonderful. Our toddler, who was not quite 2, did amazing. We stayed only 3 blocks from the beach and went almost everyday. We went whale watching and saw a lot of grey whales and even a hump-back (which made the entire trip worthwhile for me). We even took everyone to Universal Studios. I walked too much, didn’t drink enough water and ended up with the worst migraine I have ever had in my life.

Along our route to the beach, everyday we passed what I like to call a Sidewalk Psychic. Its a fortune teller with a store front on the main strip solely for tourists. I’ve always been curious about these things and my father-in-law wanted to see if she could tell the gender of our little bun in the oven. My mother in law and I went to the store front which was closed. A sign instructed us to call for an appointment. The woman agreed to meet with me, but we had to drive to her home. I went in alone, which I knew to be a normal request. I paid for a psychic reading and tarot card reading. She asked me to take out an object that was mine and she proceeded to deal the cards in a pyramid shape. The last card she placed face down at the top of the pyramid.

She told me about losing my best friend horribly and still dealing with the aftermath of that trauma in my life. She told me my husband loved me very, very, VERY much but there was not a lot of communication. (I will state, for the record, my husband has very watered-down emotions. He never gets very angry but he never gets overly excited. In turn, when he is dealing with a difficult situation, he internalizes it, and buries it deep, deep down. We will get back to this.) She went on to say how I would live well beyond the age of 87.

Without pausing she told me that we have (present tense) fertility problems. I told her, simply, no. She insisted. She said that she saw 4 healthy children, but we were having fertility problems. My husband and I only plan on having 2 children. I explained how easy it was for us to get and be pregnant both times and I really had no idea what she was talking about. Again, healthy children. Nothing wrong with any child but we were having fertility problems. I brushed her off. I wasn’t angry at her. I just wasn’t convinced.

My first ultrasound was scheduled for 7 weeks and 2 days I believe. I took my son with me because  my husband was out of town for work and did not have a steady sitter at the time. The tech had horrible bed side manner and was not very reassuring. She did not talk to me at all the entire scan. But having seen it all before I knew something was wrong. She told me that she could see the gestational sac but could not find a baby inside or detect any audible heartbeat. The doctor would go over “my options”. I knew something was not right, but I held it together as I wiped the lube and got dressed, gathered my child in his stroller and proceeded to the doctors office. She was nice enough, but was 75% sure it was a blighted ovum.

She did her best to comfort me and did not sugar coat that the 25% chance would either get bigger or completely disappear with the result of another blood test to measure my HCG and compare it to where I should be at the stage of pregnancy.

I went home and cried. It never occurred to me that this process would not be as perfect as the last. And that perfect little boy sat in my lap with a big smile on his face and made me make eye contact with him and mirror his expression. (Its a face game we play. He also plays this when I am angry at him or, apparently, really sad. He makes me smile back at him.) He traced my tears down my face, and in that moment realized how selfish I was. I have never hugged him to tight.

I journaled this time of limbo. Greg was gone for work a lot and he really did not want to dwell on it, where I had the need to speak it and rid my body of the frustration and disappointment. So I wrote…

Day 0-

It’s actually Day 1, but it only just occurred to me to write my story in hopes that it may help someone else. 7 weeks and 6 days I had my first ultrasound with a doctor I have never met, but she had great online reviews. This is my intake appointment and should be filled with heartbeats and an image of a tiny sea monkey growing inside my belly. Instead, silence. And an empty bubble. “I’m not going to sugar coat it for you.” are the only words I remember. My 2 year old healthy little boy playing and pinched his tiny fingers in the stirrups. I hold him. We cry. At home he sits in my lap and traces the tears down my face, looks into my eyes and smiles. I force a cheese which I can only imagine is quite scary. He laughs and I thank God for this perfect healthy little man. Aside from delivery, his journey into this world was flawless. Why would I ever expect anything else? It only took two months of trying this time. Why would this pregnancy be any less than perfect? We didn’t have fertility problems. Other people do. Hope. I asked and was reassured that there was hope. It’s literally all I need to dry these tears. So I began to research misdiagnosis and asked ladies in my VBAC group. Some of them went thru this, now 22 weeks pregnant. Hope. Many misdiagnosis happen before 9 weeks. Hope.

Day 1-

I feel way better. I’ve told everyone at work. I suck at keeping secrets. I’ve decided regardless of my HCG levels, we will wait 2 weeks to check again. I don’t want them to be right. I don’t think they are. But if they are, I have rationalized in my head a way to cope. There is no child to mourn. Merely the idea. I will be disappointed, like a child that did not get desert after dinner.

More research today. Just reading to keep my mind productive. I tried reading sad stories with happy ones. The more I cant believe this could possibly happen. Staring at the clock in hopes they will call with my HCG, even though I don’t want to know. Can I even stomach waiting two weeks??

“HCG 26584. At that amount, we should have seen a baby with a heartbeat. So we can say this is not a viable pregnancy.” I am not accepting this. I can’t. I will wait 2 weeks. I do not want to go back to this clinic. I want a second opinion.

Day 2-

Nothing new. It is Saturday. Next week is Valentines Day. I have no desire to be intimate or romantic. I flip flop from questioning myself, my instincts to being completely confident that I am right and there is life inside of  me. Too many signs point to a mistake. I’ve been in bed most of the day and it feels nice. I need to eat tho. Jude needs some stimulation. I do not want to go to work tonight.

Day 3-

Blurry morning as I continue the night shift. Going about life like I am carrying life. Every time I share my story (as often as I can) I look for validation. Like I’m not crazy for having hope. Like a hoarder completely oblivious to her problem. I wonder if people agree with me as a form of pity. I would believe them if even one person told me I hardly had a chance. I’m terrified of every time I go to the bathroom. Will I see blood? And then It will be black and white. I’m scared to have sex in case I bleed and become hysterical, like the failed pregnancy was my fault. I’m exhausted. Near delirious. Counting minutes until I sleep and escape the constant fear in wondering if my cramps are this little failure trying to escape my body. With each passing day of continued pregnancy and symptoms, I become more and more angry at the doctor. Maybe 8 years of school isn’t enough if I can do 2 hours of research and discredit her diagnosis. Then if she is right, I have no one to blame in my grieving process.

This was the last entry. That morning my husband and I had sex. I started bleeding a little. I went to sleep. He went to work. When I got up, it was worse and he met me at the ER. The doctor there confirmed the diagnosis, and that was the end of my fight. Valentines Day came and went. We waited for things to “work themselves out” which never happened. The day before my son’s birthday, my grandmother passed away. I waited until after my follow up ultrasound to leave and drive 21 hours without my husband to be there for my father. The day after I got home, I had a D and C to remove the empty gestational sac.

It took me a long time to get over all the loss that happened in such a little time. I really had no one to talk to and could feel myself slipping into a depression similar to what I went through when my best friend passed away. My husband’s form of grieving included NOT talking about it. There was a point where I had to tell him that I was not ok, and WE were not ok, and he needed to be there for me or I was not going to make it. (It meant marriage, dinner, the bed, ect. I love my husband but felt like he wasn’t there for me anymore.) I was super hormonal still, which didn’t help.

It took weeks to be ok. I finally stopped bleeding and we could finally have sex. (I waited two weeks) I had a repeat HCG test, which remained high for not being pregnant anymore. It upset me more. They asked that I retest every month until it was below a certain point. I never went back. I didn’t see a point in reliving the nightmare all over.

I waited for my first period and was reassured that I could start trying again after that.  We half heartedly tried. I was scared of getting pregnant again. Scared to lose it again. Scared that this would be my last pregnancy. wondering if I was even ready for two babies. The first month went by and I had another period. I resolved to make sure I stayed motivated the next go round, but again, half heartedly tracked my fertility days on my phone app…

My husband’s older brother called on Thursday to announced him and his fiancé of five years were expecting. Even if they never married, this woman would always be my sister. But I was jealous. I took a pregnancy test. Negative. I knew it would be, because I  hadn’t tried hard enough. I went to work Saturday night, stocked with an arsenal of feminine products for my impending flow. Nothing. I tested before I went to bed, thinking nothing would be different.. and I saw the faintest line. I had the biggest, cheesiest grin on my face as I walk back to the bedroom to get my phone so I could snap a picture and ask my sister for her opinion. My husband immediately asks “Are you pregnant?” I answered “I DON”T KNOW!!!” It took him a while to come in and look. I used two different brands of digital tests to confirm.

Now I finally feel that my failed pregnancy is behind me. I am still scared, terrified actually, of disappointment. But the psychic told me I would only have healthy children and the chances of another Blighted Ovum are slim to none.

You’re probably reading this, hoping it’s not you. Or you’ve accepted it and need some encouragement. I’m hugging you right now. I want you to know that your feelings are valid. Be mad. Be sad. Be hurt and disappointed. Be frustrated and terrified. But it’s not permanent. You can move on from this. I did. finally.