Our nearly three week trip to the US has come to a close. We are sitting in our apartment in Næstved again. I can't help feeling that I am a different person than I was when we left. If not a better person, then a happier person. I never thought I would be able to deal with a miscarriage so quickly, but I find myself concluding that maybe it was overall a good thing. And that's the part you can't write. That a miscarriage was good. It makes it seem like I don't value Life, or something like that. Luckily I don't have any editors to please. (I just treated myself to reading the latest issue of Runner's World, which we don't subscribe to here, and was reminded how rare it is for American journalists to give their honest opinions.)
So, anyway, I promise this is the last time I will write a blog post about having a miscarriage. But I feel compelled to bring everyone along with me to the closure I've come to, since I dragged you all into this story in the first place.
Here's why it ended up being a positive thing.
1. SR and I have grown closer. We got to see a strength and sense of humor in each other we hadn't seen before.
2. I had more energy to have a great vacation with The Lorax, step son and step daughter. This was actually the reason we hadn't wanted me to get pregnant when I did. This was our last summer vacation trip to the US for at least a couple of years. The highlights were a trip to Six Flags Great America, a hike to Brady's Bluff in Trempealeau, WI and step son learning to ride his bike. We had a lot of fun (see pictures below).
3. I was humbled. Sometimes it is good to be reminded that there is a limit to what we can control.
4. I really did have a nagging feeling that something was wrong with this pregnancy. And I couldn't gather myself to assume the role of the healthy pregnant woman. Now we will not spend our lives with a child who suffers because they were just barely compatible with life. Instead, we have a chance to try for a healthy child again. (Not because I'm trying to please any editors, but yes, of course children with serious illnesses are wonderful, but seeing them suffer must be so difficult).
5. I have been scared into eating better. I have found it really hard to adjust to the Danish diet as a pesco vegetarian, who was used to buying meat substitutes in the USA which don't exist here (you can't buy tofu or any meat subsitutes in the grocery stores in Næstved). Food is just really expensive here, so you have to plan and buy only the essentials. Sadly, what I ended up with a diet of largely oatmeal and chocolate covered marshmallows (flødeboller). Well, my diet was so much better during our trip to the US, and now that we're back, I'm going to continue that trend. The first big step was buying healthy food at the grocery store yesterday. I don't know if my poor diet had anything to do with the miscarriage, but if I get pregnant again, I don't want to be stuck with a guilty conscience. Plus, hey, a healthy diet can't hurt my running, that is unless it makes me gain weight :) (I guess that subject has been discussed here before).
6. We get to go through the excitement of "trying again". Well, I don't think I need to go into much detail here.
All of this being said, I just would love to get a guarantee that I'll get pregnant again.
What did we lose? A collection of cells that was barely visible to the human eye and a bunch of dreams. As Steve Q and others in my real life have pointed out to me, there is a reason people wait 3 months before they tell others they are pregnant. Well, I've never been one to keep my mouth shut. And plus, I couldn't stand the pressure of running Voyageur without letting people know the reason I was running so slowly. Yes, yes, call it vain and it is.
Just as an aside (the following are NOT reasons I'm glad overall about the miscarriage), there have been a couple of effects of the miscarriage I just wanted to share. 1. I was surprised to lose about 4 lbs over the course of the week after the miscarriage. I have read many places that women shouldn't gain more than a couple pounds the first 2 months or so, but at least with The Lorax I gained 5 lbs right away and that is also what happened in this previous short pregnancy. I am certain it was expansion of blood volume and the fact is came off so quickly is further evidence. 2. Such a short pregnancy (8 weeks since LMP) and I am a faster runner. I surprised myself by racing a guy in La Crosse in Hixon Forest at a just above 6 min per mile pace for over 2 miles . And that was with the recent blood loss) (oh and I was leading when we parted ways, by the way). There has been a little written about the doping effect of pregnancy, but not much. From what I understand, it has to do with the volume expansion causing increased red blood cell production and then coming out of the pregnancy with relatively more oxygen carrying capacity than one's body is used to. Then there is the fact that you train at a higher weight and then lose the weight. There may be other factors that are not known. But, the reason no one writes about it is it just comes off as wrong. Pregnancy is, after all, about families and babies and not about running. Well, that is true. But, again, I have no editors, so I can write about the secondary effects of pregnancy if I like.
Finally, I want to thank everyone for the heartfelt comments on my last two blog posts. I read and cherished every one and truly touched and overwhelmed by the positive energy and wonderful honesty.
Here are some pictures from our trip, for those who might be interested.