Loss

“Your eyes show the strength of your soul.”
― Paulo Coehlo, The Alchemist

*Trigger Warning* Please be advise that this post will contains content that may potentially upset those who have experienced trauma or loss.

I know this year has been crazy for us all, so many of us have experienced great lows, with millions being affected by this global pandemic who are simply striving to survive this year has been so incredibly difficult.

For me loss came in 3’s and they started in July my family lost my uncle to COVID-19, in August we lost our fur baby Bagheera (who had been with us for pretty since my fiance and I first go together, so 12 years) and by the first week in September I had a miscarriage.

A few weeks prior to even finding out/becoming pregnant, I had experienced severe pain in my in my right side. The pain was so severe it landed me in Urgent Care. After a few tests and a CAT scan my doctor informed me that I had a kidney infection and that my scan showed a growth on my right kidney. The doctor couldn’t give me a clear or straight forward answer on how I might have developed an infection as I had not had any UTI’s ever or had any other medical issues in the past. They sent me home with pain meds, and I was to wait for Radiology to call me once my insurance approved an MRI to see what that growth on my kidney was. This entire visit was overwhelming as it left me with fear and more questions than actual answers. I go home and begin to feel fine as soon as the next day.

About three weeks after, I realize my period was 5 days late. I had realized that it was late by the first day, and even though my period is always on time and the Eve app tracks it accurately I didn’t want to automatically assume I may be pregnant. Mostly because in the past I had gotten my hopes up my jumping to the assumption that I could be only to take a test, it come up negative, then have my aunt flow show up the next day. So I had decided I would wait this time to save me $10 and crushed hope. I waited as long as I could, 5 days, I wanted to wait a full week but I couldn’t. It was Saturday and I knew I couldn’t make it through the weekend without knowing. Off to Target I would go!

I made the silly mistake in inviting my mother in law (MIL) with me, well more like I showered, got ready to go, decided I should go to Joann Fabric and Crafts since it has a Target right next door. So forgetting why I was going to Target, I invite my MIL. Panic set in once I stepped inside the store, and realized I couldn’t let her know the test was for me, for several reasons. Something that should be known about my mother in law is that she is a woman of faith who is heavily involved in the Christian church, so I didn’t want her to know out of fear of how she might react since my fiancé (her son) and I aren’t married yet, and even though we live together and she’s okay with that I wasn’t prepared to face her with this just yet. Secondly, if I was pregnant, I didn’t want her to know just yet, cause you know you’re “supposed to wait until your in the safe zone”.

This next part is quite humorous and well quite childish to be honest. I had to come up with a little white lie. I went in and started to do some grocery shopping then I let her know that I was buying the test for my friend. Yes, I a 28 year old WOMAN resorted to my teenager excuse (you know you used this line as a teen too lol) and to further make it believable I went on to say that I had let my friend know I was at Target and she gave me a small list of items to buy. *YES I KNOW CHILDISH, and honestly this just goes to how messed up religion can truly be, it will have you living in fear and shame over things that truly shouldn’t.* But anyways I went and bought training diapers, baby wipes, and diapers for “mY fRiEnD”. Shout out to my amiga who totally laughed after I told her this whole ordeal.

So I made it out of Target with what I went for, a box of pregnancy tests. My MIL completely believing my elaborate and might I add expensive lie. I get home, give myself a pep talk, and say to myself, “it’s okay, you will be okay no matter the outcome, if its negative be gentle and kind to yourself and do not grow discouraged”. I should add that we in no way were actively trying to conceive, but given we had been together for 12 years and we had not gotten pregnant since ya know doing the baby making thang, so I was beginning to have my doubts and was lowkey worried something might be wrong.

I also prepared myself if it was positive, because at this point I found myself hoping, and praying that it would be positive. I didn’t care that it did not fit into my plans or my timeline. All I cared for in that moment was to see a “+” on that little screen. I tried to completely block out that little voice full of fear and doubt that permanently lived rent free in the back of my head that said “it wasn’t possible, it won’t be positive, you’re just late”.

I finally take the test, those three minutes feel like the longest three minutes of my life. I’m sure if you’ve ever had to take a pregnancy test then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Three minutes are up, I’m already crying because whatever that little screen says I know it will either leave me crying from disappointment or tears of joy.

The results are in, when it comes to possibly being pregnant, Jessica Galarza YOU ARE PREGNANT!!

I have actual video footage of me looking at the test, I knew I wanted to have this moment document. Deep down inside I knew I HAD to have this documented. I am crying and thanking God, thanking the universe for this gift that I had been entrusted with. I have a good cry, and I instantly want to pick up the phone to tell my fiancé, to tell my close amiga, my primas, I literally want to shout it from the rooftops. Of course I don’t because I had heard you’re not “supposed to”

I sit with this new information, I take the second test the box came with, once again it’s POSITIVE. I have no idea why, but I wanted, no NEEDED more tests, I had to be absolutely sure. It’s close to the time my fiance is out of work so I let him know we need to go to Target.

Once we reach the parking lot, I couldn’t keep it in any longer and I show him the tests. It definitely isn’t how I wanted to do, I wanted to do something “cute” to let him know but I needed someone else to know and who better than him. And honestly who are we kidding how was I going to go shop for pregnancy tests a second time at Target without it being obvious this time. He’s shocked but happy as well, he said he knew it since I was so late. Yeah we comfortably and casually talk about my menstral cycle every month. I let him know when its time to brace for impact, or if my Aunt Flow is running a bit late.

He is more trusting and confident in the first two tests I took. I wasn’t so sure, chalk it up to years of self doubt, worry, fear, and the paranoia of possibly not being able to get pregnant but I needed more tests. I had also began googling what could cause false positives and something kidney related popped up so I was almost certain that the first two tests were flukes.

Fast forward to me talking allllllllll the test, FIVE to be exact, and they all said the same thing, “pregnant” and “+”.

I am ecstatic, I am over the moon happy. I am the girl who has had her children’s names picked out for years. I am the girl who has been researching doulas, birth coaches, midwives, and just basically researching all the baby info. Strollers, how to sew my own eco-friendly diapers, everything under the sun I’ve looked up. Not because I’m baby obsessed per say but I just like being prepared and I am someone who likes having as much information I may need in the future. The more I know the better.

But even with all this excitement and glee, there is this pessimistic voice there lingering. I set up my first three OBGYN visits, I select my midwife, and get the ball rolling. Unfortunately due to COVID my first visit is over the phone, and my first in person visit with my midwife was a month away. ONE WHOLE ASS MONTH AWAY! Too long of a wait for me, I set up an in person visit at a small women’s clinic that could see my the following week and so I pay out of pocket because I needed a medical professional to put me at ease and let me know that yes indeed I was expecting.

I had let my amiga who is my closest friend and who happens to be my coworker at the time, that I was pregnant. I had let her know in case I had to excuse myself frequently to use the restroom, and because she is someone I trust completely and felt comfortable sharing this with.

The weekend before my in-person appointment at the clinic I began to experience light bleeding. I had to text my amiga since she has gone through this before, she is a mom to an adorable 3 year old, and I needed to ask someone if this was normal. She reassured me that it indeed was so long as I wasn’t bleeding heavily, which I was not. But of course the worry-wart in me was slightly anxious. I also call my doctor who pretty much said the same as my friend. So now I just have to make it to Monday I said to myself, and all would be fine once I made it to Monday and had my appointment.

Monday morning finally comes, I’m a nervous wreck but relieved. I asked if my kidney infection could cause false positives and the doctor said it was highly unlikely especially since both bloodwork and urine tests came back POSITIVE. I mentioned the bleeding over the weekend and I ask for an ultrasound, the tech leaves to get the doctor, who tells me that I may be too early for anything to be detected/picked up on the ultrasound and that bleeding in the first trimester is normal so long as it’s not heavy, or I wasn’t filling up pads, which I was not. So while I found out that I most definitely was in fact pregnant, I was left wondering why nothing showed up on the scan but I decided I wouldn’t dwell on it and I would trust the doctor who said I just may not be that far along.

A few days pass, and everything is fine. My fiancé and I began talking about moving out and getting a bigger place. We began to plan when and how we would let our families know. We discussed baby names even though we’ve had them picked out for years. I began to look at and add baby items to a secret Amazon wish list. I looked up fall themed pregnancy announcements, and had mine all planned out, it would feature pumpkins, a onesie, a round slab of wood with chalk paint that read “Our Little Pumpkin April 2021” or something equally as kitschy. I also inform my cousin who is my personal trainer that I would have to do low intensity workouts moving forward, and the reason being that I was pregnant.

I think the thing I hated most was how I felt bad for sharing this new information with others. While of course I understood that many choose not to share “just in case” a part of me didn’t get nor did I like the shame I felt in sharing this with others before making to the “safe mark”. I felt shame because I knew that not most share this until they are further along. It almost felt like I was tattle telling on myself, like “ooooo I’m pregnant, and I’m not supposed to tell you, in the unfortunate event I miscarry and then feel more shame about it”. I know, I know, I’m a bit strange and unusual and I also completely 100% understand and I am sensitive as to why most do not share until after the first trimester. I just hated the fact that I felt some type of way for sharing to those I felt NEEDED to know. I most certainly could not continue to train the way I was with my beast of a personal trainer @_trainwithali_.

One night while looking up healthy pregnancy safe meals, I began to experience slight cramping. Nothing severe, almost like period cramps but less painful. I go to the restroom and check for bleeding, there is none. *Phew* “We’re safe, we’re okay” I said as I rubbed my belly. I had begun speaking and holding lower abdomen one the way to and from work everyday after I took the five at home pregnancy tests. It was my ritual, my new normal.

The next morning, I woke up and noticed some blood on my underwear, but I tried not to panic as all the doctors said it was normal to experience bleeding, so long as it wasn’t heavy filling more than one pad per hour. I wasn’t, we were safe.

As the days progressed that week, so did the bleeding. I remember looking at my partner while we were watching tv and saying “I think I’m having a miscarriage”. I had spoken to him since we first found out about the “importance” of telling anyone we were pregnant especially family until we made it late September/early November. So he was used to hearing me mention the big M. He knew all about the bleeding from the first time it happened. He knew it all, because I kept him in the loop the entire time and he was extremely supportive since our Target trip.

I knew he would think it was nothing and that we were going to be okay. We are people of faith after all, (even though we aren’t the picture perfect example of a good ol’ wholesome Christian couple, mainly because of how progressive our view are) and God was with us and would make everything okay.

But I knew, I knew what was happening, and by the third day I decided to go to urgent care. I would have gone the first day it started but again as my doctor said over the phone once again, “I shouldn’t be alarmed unless I am in pain and bleeding more than what I was, aka HEAVILY”.

As my fiancé is driving me to urgent care he’s doing his best to calm, soothe, and support me. I’m an emotional mess the entire drive. I KNEW what was happening, I knew I would leave the urgent care broken. The walk from the car to the building was the loneliest, most painful experience. Due to COVID my fiance was unable to go in with me and I was a wreck and so was he. The entirety of my urgent care visit I was alone, there I was scared, nervous, anxious, needing and wanting my fiance to be in there with physically. I was in pain and needed him there to hold my hand and comfort me, and I know he so badly wanted to be there with me. Once inside and every time I had to wait to be seen I began to imagine how other people have had to be in this hospital alone due to COVID19. The empath in me begins to weep more for those facing hardships through this time as well.

All I can say is THANK YOU to all essential workers, and a HUGE THANK YOU to healthcare workers and even that is not enough to express the gratitude I have for them. The ones who took care of me during this time were complete angels, so kind, so gentle and as comforting as they could be given this pandemic.

I was seen right away, bloodwork, ultrasound, pelvic exam all done within 30 minutes. I was at the finally waiting area to see the Urgent Care doctor. We go over my bleeding, I describe the clots I had passed that day. I had taken pictures, and she asked to see them. She lets me know no fetal heartbeat was detected, no gestational sac was found but could not say if I was or wasn’t miscarrying because my HCG levels was good, and I could just be still too early for the ultrasound, and that some women do experience bleeding throughout their pregnancy. The only way we would know if I miscarried was to get my HCG levels checked the following week. I was completely confused and heartbroken. My fiancé, kept having faith everything would be okay. For his sake and my own I so wanted to believe it would be.

I spent the week knowing the inevitable. I had continued to bleed, and by the time I went to get the bloodwork done I just knew in my heart I was no longer pregnant. But I had to sit in the waiting room, I had to get more blood drawn, drink an obscenely sweet drink for a glucose test, wait an hour and get MORE blood drawn. A whole morning spent being poked and uncomfortable.

I left with very little hope, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t pray religiously for a different outcome. I go to work, constantly checking the Kaiser app to see if my results were in. By lunch time, the results were in, my HCG level was significantly and dramatically low. This was it the moment I knew was coming but it didn’t make it any less painful. A few moments later my nurse who I had spoken to when the bleeding first happened called me to deliver the bad news I had already seen.

I was given the same statistic from her that the Urgent Care Dr. gave me, “10-15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage”. She expressed how sorry she was that if any pain persisted for more than a few days to go back to urgent care or the ER.

Once again, I felt my whole heart break. Even while knowing I was miscarrying I still held onto a sliver of hope. I prayed for a miracle, but I also asked the God and the Universe to do what it must. I would accept and try to understand if things did not turn out how I wanted them to. I know that if I am really ready and open to what the Universe has for me I musts also respect it when it takes something away. I believe in things happening for a reason, and while I believe and am at a much better place today, the same can’t be said when I was in the thick of it.

July through September felt so heavy for me, I experienced so many emotions in such a short amount of time. The biggest most constant emotion I experienced was capital P A I N. I had lost so much in such a short period of time. I will forever remember these three months as the season of loss ad grief.

If you’ve come from Instagram because you follow me on @jloveknits, let me start of by saying thank you, you all were extremely kind and gentle even though you had no idea what was going on. Just know that I felt like I had this secret I was keeping from y’all. It felt like I had to keep working and moving forward as to not let anyone know the pain, grief, and even shame I was feeling.

I don’t fully get why the subject of miscarriage is so taboo, and I was brought up to believe that we don’t share these things, that this must be kept a secret from family and friends which I know is also as to not cause THEM pain or hurt. I mean can you imagine, YOU the birthing body going through this loss, grief. and feeling like you can’t tell anyone so to not make others feel sad, and also you don’t necessarily want to share because you feel some sort of shame/guilt/are blaming yourself, feeling down on yourself and there is of course the fact that you are honestly just too sad to share but I came to a point while I was going through this all I wanted was to reach out to friends, and even my mom or MIL for support (outside of my S.O.) to even know if what I’m experiencing is “okay” or “normal”. During this entire process I felt alone and isolated, the very small circle of friends and primas I did confide in had never experienced this (THANKING GOD FOR THAT but also feeling super alone) most have healthy kids/babies so their experience with pregnancy was completely different from mine.

Going through this and experiencing those bouts of how loneliness and isolation is exactly why I knew I wanted to be open and share. I wanted other birthing bodies who may experience or go through this to know that you are not alone, you do not have to feel shame, or like you’re less than because you did not carry to full term. Your pain and grief are valid, you’re NOT worthless, if you identify a woman and go through pregnancy loss it does not make you less than a woman, 10-15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage and it is important to know that miscarriages very rarely happen because of something YOU DID or DIDN’T do. It is also worth noting that even if something increases your risk of a miscarriage, it doesn’t mean that it was the cause.

I am continuing to work through this and occasionally have to remind myself to be kind to yourself Jay. Try to remember that it is highly unlikely you did anything to cause this.

I eventually reached out my mom who of course was so supportive and there for me and expressed her sincere sympathy and only felt some type of way because I didn’t reach out her. I am so grateful to have such a supportive, comforting, and understanding mom.

As the days go by it gets easier, my mental health is a top priority to me, and I have read several books, online resources, and once in-person sessions resume I will be going to therapy to continue this healing process. If you find yourself in need of help, please do not feel like you have to suffer alone and reach out for help.

It hasn’t been easy, I still have triggers like when the very expensive hospital bills began to trickle in, which also lead me to make the very difficult decision and pause the donating of all sales made on JLOVEKNITS.COM

I usually donate 5% of all sales every quarter and in the summer I was donating every month to a different organization. The decision was pretty much forced because the medical bills were rolling in, each one larger than the one before it. It sucks and I feel incredibly bad about this decision but having just quit my day job to purse JLOVEKNITS full time meant any money made had to not only cover my monthly bills, business expenses, but also cover these unexpected hospital bills which are no joke expensive even with health insurance.

I know this post was a lot to take in, and read just know I am so thankful for each and everyone of you. I’m so thankful you all have followed JLOVEKNITS, (and even if this is blog is your introduction to me) know that I appreciate all of your continued support and love and just want you all to know that you have someone here who is more than just a small business trying to bring eco-friendly goods and alternatives, I am a human who just like you is trying her best to get through/survive this year.

I didn’t write this in hopes of getting attention my hopes in writing this piece was to help destigmatize the conversation and shame associated with miscarriage. I know I may not be the most eloquent nor the best person when it comes to writing in general but I do speak from the heart and from my soul. I may not always get a lot of things right and I do not believe I am someone who is the most skilled or knowledgeable and I never claimed to be, I may not be able to offer the help you or others who have experienced or are experiencing this trauma but remember that you are not alone, you have a friend, sister/hermana, friend/amiga who is here for you. If at the very least this post made you feel seen even just a tiny bit, then that makes me happy, I know that is all I wanted in the darkest hours of this experience. I just wanted someone who I could relate to, and feel like I was not completely alone in this.

x️o-Jay

Resources:

Pregnancy Loss Support Orgs – https://www.verywellfamily.com/miscarriage-support-organizations-2371339