By Brooke Papp, Guest Blogger
I have been a workaholic since I was 14. I was always driven to have a ‘high powered’ career and live in a big city and have a muted gold name plate with a fancy title. I never played house, I played restaurateur, or journalist or would spend hours creating my own architectural “magazines.” I put myself through college and landed a creative career in fashion. Maybe not the cushy fancy title with the name plate, but what girl doesn’t love clothing?
Fast forward a few years…
My first date with my husband we had the full on marriage / kids discussion. Him coming from a traditional catholic family and myself with my broken childhood, we were pretty sure the memorial day date we had would last as long as the summer. I told him straight up, my career was number one and I had no desire to get married, have the white picket fence, the 2.5 children.
And then I ended up liking him, like really liking him. And something changes when you actually like someone – you see a future with them. When Andrew proposed, I didn’t have one hesitation and the thought of not having children, was not even in passing. It was the plan. The year we got married we went through a ton of changes, we both switched jobs, he started grad school, we moved to LA. It was a lot, but we got through it and it made us stronger. We lived in a teeny apartment until we purchased our house a little over three years after getting married. Everything was falling into place, but we still ‘weren’t ready’ for baby Papp. We really, really enjoyed traveling. We liked having the freedom to eat out or buy what we wanted, for ourselves, each other, the house. We knew we wanted a child, but my work schedule was demanding and I was gone a ton. He was working 12 hour days. It just wasn’t time.
But then, unplanned, we got pregnant. I was traveling for work, per the usual, and I felt off. I was exhausted. I was nauseous. I felt bloated. I wanted only pasta, which is just not the norm for me. Red wine made me gag – yes, something was definitely wrong. I was scared to death.
I finished my work trip, came home and immediately took two tests, just to be certain. Pregnant. We weren’t ready right? But then we were, we talked about it all the time. My husband was elated. He would go in our guest room and talk about where we would put everything for baby. It wasn’t planned but it was perfect timing.
We went to the doctor that week – ‘you are definitely pregnant’ the doctor said. I will never forget my loving, dear husband’s face when she pointed out – what she called – the ‘strong’ heartbeat. That little sonogram picture immediately went up on the fridge and we couldn’t stop staring at it. It was happening!
The next few weeks, I changed my diet, tried (!) to lower my stress level, starting reading the must read books. I skipped the wine during a wine tasting weekend, I was going to be a mommy!
Then we lost the baby. The perfect baby that we had already named be it a boy or a girl. The baby we weren’t supposed to get our hopes up for but ultimately did. The baby we thought about with everything we did was gone. I had changed my whole life overnight because I wanted to be perfect for this baby. And now, everything was different, in just seconds.
We went in to see our doctor on a Friday morning, before a scheduled two week vacation. The day was supposed to go something like this: early doctor appointment to see the growth of the little one, both Andrew and I had multiple meetings we were ready for and going to knock out of the park, then dinner out, and hop on a plane to Europe as a last big ‘hurrah’ before we were parents.
But instead, by 8 am, we knew our baby hadn’t grown. The baby was there, and the doctor said the growth should have been ‘monumental’ since the last time we were there, but she couldn’t detect a heartbeat. I turned to Andrew and whispered ‘I’m sorry’ and he started crying, I was numb. We rushed through her options because I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I left with my head spinning with questions, and nothing could be put into words.
Andrew and I took the day off, something I N E V E R do (workaholic remember?). We sat in our backyard and cried and talked and yelled a bit and wondered what we did wrong along the way. I questioned everything I did: the large amount of stress I was dealing with at work, the glasses of wine I had prior to knowing I was pregnant, that indulgent Nashville trip…
We didn’t even want to get on our plane to Europe. The trip wouldn’t be the same. The news we were so excited to deliver to our family, was tainted and reversed. We went through that Friday in a thick fog. And ultimately boarded the plane.
Being back now, after the trip, looking back at the pictures, it wasn’t the trip we had planned. There are very few of myself, just me behind the camera, my outfits weren’t planned, I didn’t wear makeup. I wasn’t myself. But, life goes on – not all life, but most. I am still heartbroken. Andrew is still crushed. And the conversations we had over those two weeks will never be forgotten.
But, I know this experience made us stronger as a unit and we are so grateful and blessed that’s the case. And we now know that we want a baby, so very much, and we know we have to plan for it. And do everything possible to be healthy, loving parents once our time comes.
I know women who have gone through this multiple, multiple times and I actually can’t imagine feeling that pain over and over again. It is indescribable. And shocking how much you love something so quickly. Unimaginable. Painful. Numbing. Heart wrenching.
What I take away most from this situation – apart from the time being emotionally and physically drained, is that not enough people speak of miscarriage. I have not been silent, but I notice when you are honest about what is going on or what has happened, people become uncomfortable.
Andrew explained it best: He was at the bank the day we found out and the teller asked how he was and he responded with a ‘could be better’ and the teller looked at him with no words. She didn’t know how to respond. I also have experienced that over the last couple weeks. Miscarriage is f*cking hard, and talking about it, writing about it as helped, if even a little. And if we had more knowledge of how often it does happen, maybe people will be more comfortable with discussing it and hearing the truths. Everyone heals differently of course, but as a community, knowing this happens often and close is comforting, in a sad way.
I just finished the process of everything – just last week. A D & C, which is way more intense than I thought it would be. Adding salt to the wound, you may say. And although the actual surgery helped and I feel I am moving forward, the sadness, emotion and freaking insane hormones are still there. The doctor said we can start trying again in four weeks, and I am torn. How on earth do I go through this again?
My husband, always a man of many words says: ‘the risk is worth the reward’ and I agree. Someday it will be our time, but until then, this just is another chapter in our book.