Costa Rica, a dream trip. A full week of Yoga, surfing, sloths, and opportunities to explore. Surrounded by strong, beautiful women. All of us dealing with our own shit. A haze surrounding this trip, because just three days before I found out my first pregnancy would end in miscarriage, and I was waiting for the process to begin.
Upon our arrival, we were encouraged to set an intention for the week. I stick to plans and follow rules, my goal for the week was “f*** the plan.” I needed space to begin the process of emotional and physical healing. I would wake in the morning and listen; what did my soul need today. One day I didn’t want to do yoga (on a Yoga Retreat - go figure), so I didn’t. Another, I decided to try my hand at surfing, so I did. Being away from my life, and able to choose what I wanted without my life getting in the way. I had never been so present in every moment of my day.
This was where I needed to be.
A few days in, I passed a local jewellery maker. Her stuff wasn’t necessarily my style, but I stopped and listened as she explained the process of making her jewellery, how her pieces would never break, and how each piece has something written on the back. Touristy phrases such as “Peace, Love, Surf”. One necklace caught my attention, it was no different than the rest, but it somehow stood out. I turned it over to see what it said, “Love, Heal, Grow Costa Rica 2015”. My walking companion said, “You need to buy this.” In that moment, I couldn’t have agreed more. I purchased it, put it on and vowed to never take it off.
Beautiful sunsets, delicious food, yoga, and surrounded by healing energy; dreams of motherhood shattered, disappointment in myself, an emotional and physical void. Emptiness. It never left. There was a constant lingering of sadness.
My miscarriage began a week later, on the flight back from Costa Rica. I had no idea of the physical pain that would accompany it. No one told me. Contractions that were just as intense as labour - without the beautiful end result. It lasted until the next day and it was over.
The weeks following were littered with doctor’s appointments and blood tests making sure my HCG levels were dropping until they reached less than six.
I went back to work, faking my way through the days, waiting for the sadness to go away. I believed I was doing a standup job, until a good friend called me out, mentioning that I just wasn’t the same anymore and that I should consider talking to someone. All of my life, I compartmentalize and internalized my experiences; never talking about things that made me feel vulnerable or that made me emotional. But I also knew my friend was right. I wasn’t the same and I couldn’t keep living like this.
I made yet another appointment with my family doctor, and did something I never have before - I asked for help. I explained what I was feeling and didn’t hold back. In many ways, asking for help was more therapeutic than actual therapy.
When the need arose, I would talk about my miscarriage, sometimes to people who didn’t know me well. People who never knew I was even pregnant. Each time I told my story a little more weight was lifted. I am forever grateful to those who opened up and shared their own experiences with me. The realization of how many were affected by miscarriage themselves or were close to someone who had one was eye opening. I felt less alone. I received a lot of support. I also received a lot of criticism, and was told that I shouldn’t talk about it- I ignored those people.
Gentle Yoga became a huge factor in my healing, stepping away as much as I could from rigorous workouts and focusing on turning my attention inward. Instead of following a plan, I moved my body in whatever space I held in that moment. Being completely present in body and mind.
A month later, I developed unbearable cramping in my abdomen, and ended up in the hospital. Remaining tissue from my pregnancy had caused an infection. An ultrasound showed I had also had AVM - a cluster of veins that would cause complications during future pregnancies. Another reminder of my loss. And wondering again if I will ever have a successful pregnancy?
I was referred to a specialist to get a better look at my AVM and discuss the option of surgery. It would be two months before my appointment.
Three weeks before the appointment, my Costa Rica necklace broke. It took me two years to realize, it broke during the same week I conceived again. Seriously.