What it's like to go through a miscarriage. and how you can help!

Photo Taken at Milford Sound. Fitting because any trial can feel like a bit of a storm.

I'm writing this because it just feels good to talk about the very best, and the hard things in life. We can all learn from them, and I have found a lot of comfort from those that have written about the subject.

We decided on a whim that maybe it was time to think about adding a little sibling to the family for Peter. I was able to get pregnant right away, and we found out I was pregnant as early as we could have. Went and peed on a stick, and there was the positive sign! I couldn't believe it. So many emotions, it was so crazy this would be happening again, and it was so fun to immediately start talking to each other about how Peter would be with a new baby brother or sister when it came time. We cleared out a whole bedroom, knowing that Peter would move from the nursery into there. Taylor had some free Freshly Picked shoes he could pick out, and we picked some out for the baby that was coming. Blue little moccs, and they are so cute and tiny.

The due date landed exactly on valentines day! It was so fun, because Peter was born on Christmas, and we couldn't believe it was possible to then have this baby on the holiday of love. Just perfect timing. Peter would be just over 2, and it was happening before I would be photographing during the busy wedding season of summer. My pregnancy symptoms usually start out with exhaustion. Pure exhaustion. It really is kind of crazy, because I felt like I could go to bed for the night at 5pm. I never felt nausea, but I didn't make it to 8 weeks, so I just felt like that would maybe come later.

We were a week away from surprising everyone with the news when I miscarried.

I started having some spotting. I didn't even think anything of it because I had spotted with Peter (and I swore I had mild cramps too), and he arrived here safe and sound. I told Taylor not to worry, and everything would be fine. Cramps then started coming, nothing super painful yet, and I just brushed it off. They lasted throughout the night, and I had to war a pad. I never soaked through the pad, and when morning arrived, I was done cramping.  I called my Dr's office just in case, but I really didn't think it was a miscarriage. They told me to come in, and so I did. We did a vaginal ultrasound, and the doctor couldn't see anything from it. He said that I either had already miscarried, had an ectopic pregnancy, or that I wasn't as far along as I thought. I could rule out the third because I definitely knew when I conceived. Once I left the doctor, I was a bit worried that it was an ectopic pregnancy. I was pretty sure I hadn't miscarried yet, but I just had to wait.

I ended up miscarrying that night. I arrived to my sweet friends house, and I felt something fall out of me. I went to the bathroom, and there it was. Some people miscarry differently, and it all comes out slowly. Mine came out all at once, and it was very startling. It is also undeniable. You will know if you miscarry. I was honestly shocked it had just happened, and it was a little hard to process that night. I was full of emotions, but didn't get home until late, so I didn't tell Taylor until right before he went to work. Which was a hard conversation to have, and I was so close to just keeping it to my self for a bit.

If you do miscarry, be prepared for lots of blood draws, and a doctor's office that isn't sure how to say I'm Sorry when they tell you it was a confirmed miscarriage. That whole process just feels so cold. But maybe others will have a better experience.

I might also just add in a little tidbit that sometimes guilt might seep in. I started feeling guilty I was working too hard, or that I wasn't getting enough rest, and that's why I miscarried. Or that I wasn't taking a prenatal before I became pregnant. Or that my body was just too messed up from labor & delivery with Peter. Everyone told me that it wasn't a viable pregnancy, and that miscarriage would have happened either way. But it's super easy to ignore that, and just think of all the ways you did wrong, and made the miscarriage happen. I just tried to take care of myself, treat my body right, and remember things I should do for the next time.

Miscarriage for me has a lot of ups and downs. I was grateful it wasn't an ectopic pregnancy, sad that February 14th, 2018 wouldn't be a due date for my child. During all of this, my body had just felt like it went through labor.  I do like talking about the miscarriage to others because it felt like it happened. And we can't truly get over something unless we acknowledge our pain, and talk about it. We were so ready for that baby to come, but then we never were able to have that chance. We lost a baby we didn't yet know. But it still felt like a loss, and us humans usually do share when we have a big loss in our lives. So sharing I am to celebrate the life I did have in my body for those 7 weeks.

Did you know you actually can go through the same postpartum depression after a miscarriage that you can when you have a baby? I didn't know that, but my hormones were crazy, and the loss of the baby consumed my every thought. I had a pit in my stomach for a straight two weeks, and I was pretty good at holding it together, until the times when I just couldn't anymore. I felt like I was still just going through the motions of life, but all I wanted to do was sit down and think about what I had just lost. It is so hard, and I didn't know it was quite like this until I experienced it. & I definitely had a form of depression. I had just started my maskcara business, that I absolutely loved, and was in the middle of wedding season as a photographer (which I love too). While I knew why I wanted to do those things, and how grateful I was to be able to make an income in ways that I did genuinely love, I didn't care about it. I didn't care about much of anything in my daily routine besides my family. I wasn't doing what I should be doing, and I felt like all I could think about was that loss.

Honestly, what got me out of it? Going to church (being religious in some way), finding strength in talking about it. Deciding to do one fun thing each day with Peter. Posting about maskcara and getting in a routine of taking care of my face and putting makeup on honestly helped me feel good about myself, and it felt so good to apply this makeup to others for them to see their beauty. I found being busy in photography forced me to not pity myself in my thoughts, and wish for that due date to still be real. I started my prayers each night by thinking of what I was grateful for that day. I'm not going to lie that my grief is over. I think it takes time.

 I think it's important to know that everyone has a different timetable of healing, and if you know someone who goes through something like this, just know putting a bandaid on it after just a few days, can feel very painful to the person going through it. Don't get mad at them for not getting over it soon enough either. Let them feel the pain, and let them take time to heal from such a loss. It still hits me in waves, and is just a really hard emotion to process even now. My biggest advice to anyone that has someone struggling with anything (including miscarriage), is to connect with them somehow. Validate what they are going through, and bring it up when you are in conversation. I know maybe there are others who don't want to talk about it, but then you probably wouldn't know about it anyway. So if you know, they are probably the type that wants that connection, and wants to not go through it alone.

Also, if someone has unfortunately suffered from multiple miscarriages, or not being able to become pregnant, I can only imagine how much deeper and harder that pain must be inside of them. I can't fathom what that is like, but be delicate, and helpful, and connect with them too.

We know we will have more children in the future, and we are so grateful for the support we had when we told people about the miscarriage. So thank you!


Our Fun Winter!

Peter's birthday was celebrated Christmas morning! I made him this healthy cake, and also Cinnamon Rolls for everyone else, as well as a breakfast casserole. I thought it was a great start to our Christmas day. People always moan to us how much Peter will hate his birthday in years to come, but I also feel like maybe that would be the case because of everyone's attitudes towards holiday birthdays. We can still make them special, and the day he was born was definitely an extra special gift for us. He really got into the cake as you can see below. 

His cousin Ernest, wanted to get in on the action of eating cake too!
He isn't quite sure what this whole opening gifts thing is, but I think he liked his gift!

We visited Thanksgiving Point because we have free passes this year (thanks husband for being awesome). Peter is obsessed with animals, so it was a lot of fun!

Cute kid at church. Hanging out with Sterling, one of his favorite people to see each week! He's a hoot. Always gives peter a roll of smarties that we just end up throwing away later. 
Dressed up as nephites and lamanites for the ward Christmas party! It was a lot of fun!
The bachelor party before Kollyn got married.
Peter became so sick this winter, and it was so sad to see! He was pretty lethargic, sleeping a ton, but so thankful it didn't get terribly bad. 
Out cold in the middle of the reception. Taylor left the reception early because Peter was not feeling good at all. Poor sick kiddo! It was so hard at night, and he just wanted to sleep with me during the day. So hard to see your child sick.

As you can see from his facial expression, Peter is really n love with driving through Christmas lights!
Obsessed with dogs, and kitties. Talks about them all day long.

Also loves birds, wild and domesticated.
His new lounging position while playing in his crib when he should be going to sleep.
His favorite puppy!

Peter was really good at feeding the ducks. We saw lots of dogs there, and he had such an amazing time running around the boardwalk. Everyone loves Peter!
Our rock climbing while mom is working! So glad these boys have so much fun together. And look so cold!
Went to the Celine Dion concert for my Christmas gift, and it was amazing! She seems like such a sweet, good person, and the concert was phenomenal. Amazing to hear her perform in person, her voice is stunning and powerful. 

I attended a photo conference this winter, and it was so much fun! I love spending time with new friends, and seeing longtime ones. What an incredible community!
Oh ya, dancing with someone I don't know, but having a blast of course!
Every night Taylor reads Peter his bedtime book. "It's time to sleep, It's time to sleep" ....we have it memorized :D 
Currently loves getting into clothes, and taking big bites!
Taylor falling asleep watching his favorite thing: Basketball. He even said he wasn't tired haha.
Exploring the snow, and hanging out at home.
He loves smiling and leaning to one side while he is eating. It feels like he is trying to show his love, and we LOVE it.
Wow! How can life get any better?!


My Postpartum Recovery

Well it's already February. I've been thinking about writing this for over 6 months, but honestly I haven't wanted to. But...the feeling just will not go away, so I wanted to share a part of my journey. Please don't feel like you have to read this, or that I am an all knowing source for anything. I'm just sharing my own experience, and I'm hoping this continued nudging to write this may help one person!

Last January I was just getting started on my postpartum recovery. Little did I know what I was about to learn, and what I was going to have to deal with. Looking back, I am grateful in some ways that I didn't know.

When I was pregnant, I was a preparer. I read so many different studies, medical journals, talking with other women, my doctor, my midwife, etc. I took an amazing birthing class. I was prepared for birth! I ate 3 dates a day for the last 4 weeks of my pregnancy (find the study here). I worked out as best as I could. Of course until that pubic pain happened, and those lovely rectal spasms (a form of lightening crotch, and I had other forms too)...I hope that never happens again. I ate healthy. I had a birth plan written out, and I had printed 5 copies to bring to the hospital. I knew the pros and cons of different interventions at the hospital if for some reason I needed to have any. I wanted an unmedicated birth for many reasons, and I am glad I was 99% of my labor.

I liked being prepared, because I like knowing what to expect. I read a lot about recovery too, but not enough. But that's also what made my recovery so hard. I didn't realize partway in, that my recovery was harder than normal. This was my first recovery, first labor, and the first time I had gone through any of this. And also, I didn't realize the hardness a forceps deliver can be on your body. It certainly felt crazy when he was doing it. People were so, so kind to me. My doctor told me the day after labor that I had been through a lot, and to make sure to stay on my pain medications, and for sure to keep taking that stool softener for a while. My whole birthing team was amazing, my family was amazing, but I didn't know all the pain I would feel for such a long time. And also while just trying to juggle visitors, a new baby, and taking care of my body. ...also food. Making sure I was eating! ha. It's hard after.

When I was at the hospital, I didn't really move. I stayed in bed the whole time, and it was wonderful. Heaven. It was amazing just to be in that room, and it just be about our son Peter. Just our family. I think that's one of the best parts of the hospital time. I loved having the nurses there to help me to the bathroom, and I should have had someone help me in the shower too. That was a struggle! Breastfeeding is a whole thing to learn how to navigate, but in the hospital it seems a lot easier than when you get home. Am I right? haha. I also was super sore from head to toe from my labor, and just make sure you sleep as much as you can. It's pretty exhausting. I also didn't know that IV fluids made you so puffy after. My eyes were so puffy, my head hurt, my neck was in so much pain. I'm sure many have experienced that. haha trying to walk too, was funny. I am glad I was wheeled out to the car when I left the hospital.

Heather Nan Photography
Even when I was home, the first few days were actually probably the easiest. I stayed in bed, and Taylor took care of all the meals and diaper changes. Helped me get dressed (if you haven't had a baby, you become so vulnerable for help in some cases, and that's when I am so grateful for such an awesome husband!) I couldn't bend down for about 8 weeks. I changed less than a dozen diapers in two months. I was definitely in pain, couldn't walk or sit very well. I had a lot of stitches aside from also just birthing a baby anyway! I think anyone who has a baby needs to recover whether it be from a c section, vaginal birth, or anything else. It's all quite a recovery no matter what, and I'm amazed at what our bodies can do.  I wish I started taking sitz baths with epsom salts right away. It speeds recovery, and I also wish I would have asked or known about natural stuff to put on to heal better.

It was truly wonderful becoming a parent for the first time. I hope though, that me outlining what my body experienced postpartum will help someone else in their struggle.

After a few days of being home, I was still just not feeling super great. I knew I would be in pain, but goodness! It was very painful, and weird, and I didn't feel like this was my body. I couldn't feel my bladder for a few weeks. I had to just make sure I went to the bathroom often, and the nurses have you spray water there to get you to pee at the hospital, I just continued to do that for a good few months! I also was so surprised when I moved in the tiniest wrong way, I had a shooting like nerve pain near my stitches (or deep inside that area somewhere) It was a lot of fun. Anyone else experience that?

Then 5 days postpartum, I was getting a little worried as I had some symptoms continue that wasn't just my recovery. I started feeling strong tingling sensations (like my body was reviving from being asleep and being on that side of my body too long) all over my left arm, left side of neck, occasionally on legs, feet, and on my face. My feet were super sweaty and either really cold or really hot (I think that's normal for your body getting rid of excess fluids though! So just be ready. & Night sweats. Seriously a real thing). My left arm had different spots that were hot or cold, it felt like swelling, but I couldn't hold Peters head with my hand because it felt like I was cutting off the circulation. My sister is a nurse and we went to the ER to get checked out. They were worried because I pushed for 3 1/2 hours, and had a forceps delivery that I could possibly have a blood clot in my brain, or something else going on.  So I had the MRI. Luckily nothing life threatening was happening, and I was so grateful. The doctor told me it was probably just after effects of trauma and possibly also the epidural. I still felt weird going home with all these symptoms, and not knowing what they were.

That night, I couldn't sleep. I was soooo exhausted. I had probably only slept 12 hours combined in the last 4 days. I was having a hard time with all my symptoms because they were constant, as well as just trying to sleep. That night another symptom started. I actually pumped and dumped that 24 hours after the MRI (and thank you to anyone who gave Peter breastmilk. So appreciative! He loved all of it) and I started having strong sensations in my throat like my throat was closing in and I wasn't going to be able to breathe. It kept happening that night, and I had a full blown panic attack (I have so much respect for anyone who has an ongoing battle with anxiety. Seriously you are a strong person!) My neck kept tightening throughout the night. I finally realized with the help of my sister and husband, that I was okay, and that these sensations were at their strongest for me when I was having a letdown. Looking back, I wonder if it was combination of me trying to recover from the birth, as well as having the actual strong letdown sensation in my throat? I'm not sure, but that seems most logical. That went away officially after about two weeks. YAY! My mom came over after the ER visit, and after I was experiencing the sensations in my throat. She was an angel that I needed! She does energy work, and she was helping my body's circulation get back into sync. I felt such immediate relief, and the feelings immediately moved down out of my head.

Heather Nan Photography

Once I hit three weeks postpartum, I was starting to get in worse pain. My stitches still hurt pretty bad, I was easing up on ibuprofen (which if you need it, don't do that. That's sometimes when your body is the most swollen and really needs it for inflammation), and I was still having some bladder issues. I cried a lot, but I still felt like I wasn't depressed just in so much pain. Peter was my happiness as well as Taylor. I always would say to Taylor how grateful I was to not be a pioneer. hahaahaha. He thought that was funny I kept saying that. Also, my goodness it hurts where they put in the epidural. I was also having tailbone pain. It was throbbing when I was laying down, and my bones really felt so tender, almost like a nerve feeling. The throbbing and pain was getting progressively worse in my tailbone area. I would wake up at night in so much pain, and just have to lay in the bathtub to feel some relief. The cyst is the worst pain I have ever experienced. I also was experiencing 4th degree hemorrhoids, but I didn't know that yet. I then had to sleep on my stomach, and I couldn't really lay down on my back anymore. I still wasn't able to sit at the dinner table, and I had to sit in certain positions on the couch. This led to a lot of stiff/tight muscles in my whole body. My legs were extremely stiff, and my mom had to come over and do energy work as well as doing super light massage, just to release all the pain and tenderness. After a few days of this, I decided to go to the doctor.

They confirmed my suspicion that I had a cyst. They said if it didn't drain on it's own, they would have to cut me open and get it out. Scary! So I went home, and my mom put some castor oil, melaleuca oil, on a gauze pad, and put heat over my tailbone to try to release it. After about 15 minutes, it started releasing, and that night I had so much relief. I did that for a few weeks, and it went away completely after getting checked by my doctor.

After that pain went mostly away, I then started to really feel my hemorrhoids. Look up what they are just in case. They are pretty common in pregnancy and postpartum, but there are varying degrees. Mine would throb for 10 hours straight, and sitting was really hard. Hence the never sitting at the dinner table (but also stitches from the birth with an almost 3rd degree tear). Some people can have them for up to a year, but after 6 months, mine were a world of difference and were so much more manageable even if I had pain.

I have tried SO many things for hemorrhoid relief. If you are in extreme pain, and can't get relief or can't get rid of them being so agitated, this list may be helpful!

-Get on a high fiber diet. You need 30grams a day.
-It is extremely important you are well hydrated. Aim for your weight cut in half in ounces. And if breastfeeding, try to add a little more! Just drink, drink!
-Avoid sugar, white bread, and lots of dairy.
-Sit in a sitz bath, use epsom salts.
-Soak in Transdermal Magnesium (I think everyone should use this, especially after a birth. Your body deserves to be taken care of. This helped me heal so much. And I still use it! You can read more where I buy it here.)
-Take Dessicated Liver Tablets (it will help you heal, and I was low Iron and needed a good source)
-I took the My Miracle Tea and it is a soft laxative that builds up your body. After a while stool softeners stop working, and they aren't great for your digestive tract.
-Drinking a green drink every morning, oatmeal, beans, sweet potatoes, and fruit were my favorite ways to get in my fiber.
-I used citrus oils, helichriseum (Also so amazing for stretch marks. I only put it on my tummy and not hips, and my hips are way more noticeable. I use 1 drop with either goat milk lotion, or coconut oil), and cypress oil for my hemorrhoids. It was a miracle worker. Immediately after I started using them my Hemorrhoid shrunk by 50%. and I had never seen it that small after 6 months. So I use these lots still. They are great for preventative measures too.
-A squatty potty will save your life.

Feel free to message me if you need help getting access to good, quality oils. I noticed a huge difference.

I would experience weird pains and sensations all throughout the first 6 months of my recovery. Even bouncing on an exercise ball to take care of Peter, I would get a kicking/pain sensation on my stomach. I just contributed it to needing to heal and strengthen, and with time it has been happening much less.

Now, kegels are super important during pregnancy and also postpartum. I was in way too much pain with my hemorrhoids to even do them for a while (I tried, but it agitated me so much and made life a lot more painful) Eventually I was ready to get them going! Doing just one kind of kegel is not going to cut it, so I bought a dvd that helps strengthen in multiple ways, and your core area. I highly suggest it if anyone is experiencing peeing while exercising, any kind of prolapse, or wants to make sure they are strong. You can find it here.

I also started the Mutu workout program. And it is incredible. It's an online 12 week course that helps fix problems from pregnancy, but also making a strong core again. I am feeling such a big difference! You can find it here, and it's a lifetime membership once purchased! If you have diastasis recti, or other postpartum problems it is especially beneficial to workout with this program so it doesn't get worse.

Heather Nan Photography

Please, please, do not feel pressured into resuming regular intercourse right after your 6 week postpartum checkup.  I was cleared at my 6 week checkup, but she also said because I was in so much pain during the exam, that I should wait a bit and use tons of lubricant, but that everything was healing. I was in an incredible amount of pain, and I can't imagine trying to resume intercourse then. I like to keep intercourse as positive of an experience, and I probably would have created a lot of negative emotions, and physical tightness by trying to start too soon. I also don't believe in going through pain just so we can do that. I don't think that's right.  I came to find out that I also have a few prolapse issues going on, so it took a lot of patience and what I explained above to become ready for that. It could take you 6 months to be able to resume intercourse, and for some people it could even take up to a year. Your spouse will understand, and if he doesn't you need to sit down and figure that out. There are other ways to be intimate together besides just that. You need to do what is right for you and your body, you just had a baby! It's so important to give your body the time that it needs.

I also realized a lot of my pain I was experiencing had to deal with scar tissue that had formed from all of my stitches. I have also learned that massage in any area that has become stiff or injured can help heal. Listen to what your body can handle. I used helichriseum and coconut oil at the site of my scar tissue for a month, and I can't feel the hard scar tissue anymore after doing that! & SO much less pain.

I had a lot of pain standing for up to a year postpartum. It was a sagging, aching pain, that was continuous. It was hard to stay standing after it came on. If you are experiencing that, just know it will lessen, and lessen. It is also partly from being so weak, and so injured from birth. It can also have to deal with the added weight and pressure of a prolapse. I'd look into that for sure!

Prolapse issues are sometimes hard to diagnose, and you can have a uterine prolapse or a bladder prolapse. There are others too, but those are the ones I know about most. Look at the symptoms of each to see if you are experiencing any of it to know it is a possibility. I would often move a different way, and I would feel a small drop in that area. Which is scary because you don't know what is happening. But as I have implemented the above things to help, and with time, those sudden drops have been significantly reduced.

I'm sure I didn't cover many of the things other moms go through too. Like mastitis? I'm sure that's really hard. A C section is quite the recovery too. And I didn't get into breastfeeding, because that's a whole other arena. But it will probably be overwhelming for a bit. Any recovery can be hard, and at the hardest points in recovery (which could still be a few month after birth) it can almost feel like the only thing you can think about. It can be hard to think it can get better, and that you will be able to move around and feel like a normal person. It's okay to cry. It does eventually get better! Be honest with those around you with what you are going through, find the right people that will listen and be willing to help. Talk to your spouse, write in your journal, and do something that will get your mind off the pain. Some people will dismiss what you are going through, but others will be absolute angels. Because just listening to what is going on in someones daily struggle can be a tremendous blessing. I feel so much for anyone who has to go through daily anxiety, or any auto immune disease. I can't even imagine going through the same thing each day. I also think a lot of these people may even want to talk about their struggles, but can't because people are sick of listening or they just don't understand the true struggle of going through daily pain like that. If anyone is reading this and needs someone to empathize, please talk to me! & happy recovery!  Oh and if you have a white gold ring, you could become allergic after birth....