Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lost Soul

The below was written by Trudy Laughlin.
After I had my 3rd miscarriage, I was a lost soul. I could barely drag myself out of bed each day, and to think about going to work was more than I could take. I had two weeks of vacation time saved up, and even though my boss thought it was not necessary to take so much time off work for “just a miscarriage,” I had the time available, so I took it anyway. Having so much free time on my hands was a blessing and a curse at the same time. I was glad I didn't have to put on my happy face and go to work for those weeks, but being home by myself wasn't such a good idea either. I had too much time to think and cry, and the first few days, I didn't even get out of bed except to go to the bathroom. I spent hours reading message boards and blogs on the internet, laying in my bed, eating ice cream and crying many tears into my pillow.

I had joined a gym and started working out just before I got pregnant for the second time. My first miscarriage happened very early in the pregnancy, and my doctor said it was a fluke, that these things just happen and we don't know why. I was upset about the miscarriage, but I believed him when he said it was a fluke. I wasn't feeling very healthy at the time because I was overweight and working at a job that left me stressed and exhausted. After the miscarriage, I decided I was going to try to get my weight down before my husband and I tried again for a baby. My neighbor is a personal trainer, and with her encouragement, I joined the fitness club where she worked. She promised to take it easy on me and help me ease into exercising in a way that would make me feel good about myself and not discouraged. Her club employed a dietician who I met with several times also. After a few months, I had lost some weight, was eating healthier than I ever had, was feeling great, and we decided it was time to try to become pregnant again. We became pregnant right away, and I was thrilled. I felt good about the pregnancy, and my doctor assured me it was perfectly okay to continue my workouts, that they wouldn't be harmful to the baby. I felt so good the first few weeks of that pregnancy! There was another pregnant mom who I saw regularly at the gym, and she had worked out throughout her pregnancy and was close to delivery. I envisioned myself in the months ahead exercising and nurturing my growing baby. I had never felt better in my life.

Everything was going great until one day, I arrived at the gym and my friend told me that the other mom's baby had been stillborn a few days before, that the cord had wrapped around her baby boy's neck just a few weeks before he was due. I was stunned. I never knew such things happened! After that, I was terrified of working out. I left the gym that day and didn't return. Unfortunately, I miscarried again at the end of the first trimester, and I just couldn't bring myself to return to the gym after that. It was wintertime, and while most people head to the gym and make New Year's Resolutions to lose weight and get in shape, I didn't care. As the winter wore on and the sights and sounds of spring filled the air, I gained back every pound I had lost in my months of working out, and I felt worse than ever. I also knew that I never wanted to become pregnant again.

I did however. By fall, heavier than I had ever been before, I was once again pregnant and scared to death. We decided not to tell anyone, and as the weeks went by, we slowly became cautiously happy. I would be at the end of the first trimester at Christmas, and if everything went well, that is when we decided we would tell everyone we were expecting again. Once again, our excitement was short-lived, and just before Thanksgiving, during an ultrasound, we found out that our baby had no heartbeat. We were devastated.

After a few days of staying in bed, not showering, not caring if I lived or not, my doorbell rang. I ignored it, and it rang again. I put on my robe and went to the door to discover my neighbor holding a pot of delicious smelling soup.  Trying to be polite, I invited her in for a cup of tea which turned into an afternoon of tea and tears. She mentioned to me that I might feel better if I got out of the house and did something for myself, and she suggested I come back to the gym. I had no intention of going back, but I told her I would think about it. As fate would have it, that evening, our local news had a story about the many benefits of exercise. They interviewed a woman who had lost her son and her husband in a car accident, and she talked about how running helped her deal with her grief in the months after their death. If I had met her on the street, I would never have known what she had been through because she looked happy and well. I caught a glimpse of myself in the darkened window and I looked anything but well or happy. I looked a mess. I hadn't washed my hair in days, or even gotten out of my pajamas. That was a turning point for me, and I thought to myself, “If she can suffer what she has and come through it, so can I!”

The next morning, I took a shower, got dressed and walked over to my neighbor's house. I told her I was ready to come back to the gym, but I would need her help. I was so afraid to go back to the place where I had felt so good and empowered and happy, but I did it. It wasn't easy, but I did it. Slowly but surely, I began eating healthier again, and I also began to not only enjoy, but even look forward to my workouts. Late that spring, I once again found out a baby was on the way. With close supervision from my doctor, I continued to work out, kept my weight at a healthy number, and am now the mom of a healthy and beautiful one year old little girl. I continue to work out, eat healthy, and take care of myself. Those dark days after my miscarriages still haunt me, but thankfully, I had a friend who encouraged me to take care of my physical needs because taking care of those, helped with my mental needs as well.  

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