Loss and Miscarriages

Posted by Shayla LaFreniere on Monday, August 5, 2013.

What nobody tells you when you’re trying to get pregnant is what a heartbreaking experience it can be.

Everyone tells you (especially parents) that kids will change your life forever and that they are the greatest love that you will ever know. They’ll warn you about all the sleepless nights ahead and joke with you about the battles you will be forced to wage with this tiny little human.

Your sisters and girlfriends will find great amusement telling you about how your body will transform in ways that don’t seem humanly possibly; and they’ll completely terrify you with horror stories about the unbelievable pain that labor brings.

Your doctor will tell you to eat healthy and exercise and take your prenatal vitamins. They’ll tell you not to worry if it takes 6 months to even a year until you conceive (no matter your age) because getting the timing just right to make a baby is harder than most people think.

Family members, friends and strangers a like will all want to give you advice about things that in most circumstances should really between no one other than you, your body and maybe your husband. They’ll talk to you about ovulation, hormones, pregnancy test, natural birth vs c-sections, episiotomies, breast feeding, and even sexual positions. Normal boundaries of human conversations seem to go out the window once you tell someone that you are trying to get pregnant.

But what no one tells you (until it happens to you) is that trying to get pregnant can also mean loss and despair and sadness and heartbreak.

No one tells you that even as a grown woman you might find yourself uncontrollably weeping each month when your normal menstrual cycle starts. No one tells you that that the 2 weeks between ovulation and the start of your period will be the longest weeks of your life each and every month. No one tells you that though you will try there is little you will be able to do to distract yourself from looking at your calendar and counting the days over and over and over again. No one tells you that religious or not you will most likely find yourself praying harder than you’ve ever prayed in your entire life.

And most of all no one tells you that miscarriage is a very real possibility.

I have thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to share this on my blog… I try to be open and honest on here; but some things are so personal sharing them is about as uncomfortable as if I were to stand before you naked.

I have decided to share this because I wish I had been able to find a blog like this about this subject over the past few months.

Here is our story.

To be honest when Christopher and I first got married we didn’t think we were going to have children. But in September of last year Christopher came home after playing golf with his brother and said “I think we should try to have a baby”. I was really surprised because we had talked a lot about it prior to getting married and I thought it was settled. We both love children but because I was 36 and he 39 when we got married we just decided that though lots of people do it, having children in our late 30’s was not for us. After he said that he wanted to try we talked about it for a few weeks and decided that we would start trying in January.

Because of my age (I am now 37) my biggest concern was not being able to conceive; Christopher and I decided that we would not do infertility treatments. We want to have a baby but we don’t think our lives will be incomplete without one so we decided to leave it in God’s hands. Of course when I would mention my concern of not being able to conceive, people would say, “Oh Shayla, you’re so silly lots of people get pregnant at your age” and I would say, “Yes they do but lots of people don’t”.

Still no one mentioned miscarriage.

Then on the morning of Saturday, April 6th I noticed some light brown spotting. Being the avid researcher that I am I had read about a thing called implantation bleeding. So I came out of the bathroom and said to Christopher; “I think I might be pregnant”. He asked why I thought that, and I explained about the bleeding. He thought maybe it was just my period but my period wasn’t due until that Wednesday and I NEVER have spotting before my period starts. I took two pregnancy test over the weekend, one was negative and one had a very faint pink line, so faint that I thought maybe I was imagining it. The brown spotting continued throughout the day on Saturday and then on Sunday I noticed a tiny bit of light pink spotting. We decided I should call my OBGYN first thing Monday morning.

Sunday night was one of the worst nights of my life, I did not sleep a wink; by the time Monday morning came around I was exhausted and had a really bad feeling. I called my doctor as soon as the office opened and made an appointment for that afternoon. Christopher had to go into work but said he would leave early to go to the appointment with me.

The next 24 hours was a roller coaster ride of fear, joy and sadness.

They gave me a urine test at the office and told me I was 4 weeks pregnant; we were in shock and so excited! Then the nurse practitioner came in to do my internal exam and told us that everything might be fine but there was also the possibility that I was having a miscarriage. She said that they would need to do a blood test that day and then again in 48 hours to see if my pregnancy hormone levels were normal. She explained that first trimester miscarriages are very common and that if that is what was happening I shouldn’t worry that it meant anything about my fertility or chances of having a baby.

We left the office and tried our best to push the idea of a miscarriage out of our minds. But on Tuesday morning the doctor called to tell us that my blood work had come back and that even without the other blood test they were sure I was having a miscarriage because my pregnancy hormone was much too low.

My entire body started to shake uncontrollably and I could barely think or speak. The doctor kept asking me if I had any questions about what was happening but the only one I kept asking was “Are you sure?”

They told us that after the miscarriage passed we should wait until I had a normal period and then we could try again.

Nothing happened in May or June but in July we conceived again and once again we were so excited. Maybe even more excited this time because everything seemed fine and though the fear of another miscarriage was in the back of our minds we really didn’t think it would happen again. I took a pregnancy test on Saturday, July 27th one day after my missed period and it confirmed what I already new, I was pregnant!

Because of the previous miscarriage we decided I should go to the doctor on Monday and have them do a blood test to check my hormone levels but we weren’t overly concerned. On Tuesday they called to let me know that my blood work did confirm that I was pregnant but my hormones were low. They were not as low as the last time but low enough to be concerning; they said it might be fine but they’d know more on Thursday when they got the results back from Wednesday’s blood test.

Christopher and my sister Shara kept telling me to be positive but I felt like I couldn’t breathe; I could not believe this was happening again. They kept telling me to try to take my mind off of it until I heard from the doctor on Thursday; but I don’t know how that was even realistically supposed to be possible.

The doctor called on Thursday morning and the blood work confirmed my worst fears, my hormone levels had dropped; I was having another miscarriage.

After you’ve had a miscarriage you will be surprised to find out how many people you know have gone through the same thing. If you do a little research you’ll discover that miscarriages are much more common that you ever could have imagined. The American Pregnancy Association believes that an average of 1 in 3 pregnancies ends in a first trimester miscarriage; and that many women just think they’ve had an irregular period and don’t even realize that they’ve miscarried.

After you’ve had a second miscarriage you’ll discover that even recurrent miscarriages are more common than you would imagine.

After you’ve had a miscarriage your Doctor will tell you over and over again how common it is and that it is not your fault; they tell you it is most likely due to a Chromosomal abnormality and that is why your body spontaneously aborted the baby. Yup, that’s right the medical community calls it a “Spontaneous Abortion”; how awful is that!

After you’ve had a miscarriage (if it is before 6 weeks) your doctor may not so compassionately refer to your pregnancy as a “Chemical Pregnancy“. I don’t know if doctors have decided that this terminology will make you feel better about what is going on but to me it feels like they are discounting my pregnancy and my baby. The fact is from the moment the egg is fertilized there is a baby and at just 4 weeks there is even a primitive brain and heart and lungs; therefore it is much more than just a bunch of chemicals and should not be referred to in this manner medical or otherwise.

After you’ve had a miscarriage you and your husband will be left with a heavy feeling of sadness that will linger long after the miscarriage has passed.

After you’ve had a miscarriage you will have long discussions about whether or not you should try again (these discussions will be even longer after you’ve had two miscarriages).

After you’ve had a miscarriage your next positive pregnancy test will bring a tidal wave of emotions of joy and fear. People will tell you not to worry but it will be pretty much impossible not to fear that it will happen again and this fear will likely increase with each miscarriage.

After you’ve had a miscarriage you’ll feel frustrated and angry that there are often no definitive answers as to why this happens and therefore no cure or guarantee that it won’t happen again.

After you’ve had a miscarriage you’ll feel like your body has completely failed you.

After you’ve had a miscarriage you’ll feel hope that one day your body will be able to carry a baby to term and when you hold that precious little human in your arms all the pain and sadness will be pushed away by joy and it will all be worth it.

{ Angel Y. | Static-Romance } August 5, 2013 at 6:46 PM
Oh Shayla, tons of long distance hugs headed your way. After learning I will probably have difficult time getting pregnant, I couldn't believe the statistics on miscarriages and fertility issues. It's this huge weight that so many women carry that no one talks about. I admire your courage to share your story. It's not easy going through this and I can't begin to imagine what you're going through.

I want you and Christopher to have the family you both want. I'll keep you both in my prayers and wish the very best for you. I believe in the power of prayer. <3 Sending so much love your way.
{ Audrey } August 6, 2013 at 7:24 AM
My heart is broken for you-- for all of us. I had three miscarriages before I turned 25. The doctors labeled me with this horrible medical term: "habitual aborter." Ouch. I grew up and learned that things aren't as simple as the hens seem to try to make it out to be. I will say, two years out from it, my heart is finally starting to heal some... but those babies were always there and they are always yours.

Even though it's bittersweet, I hope your hearts feel some relief in knowing you're not alone.

Our Home | The Great Room | Progress

Posted by Shayla LaFreniere on Monday, June 10, 2013.

So the one thing I’ve learned about decorating a home is that it takes time.

It takes time to find the right pieces of furniture (at the right price) and it takes even more time to collect the little things that make a house a home. We are definitely not finished but if you follow me on instagram then you saw that I shared a photo of an abstract painting that I finished this weekend for our Great Room. So today I thought I’d share the entire room so far.

Both my husband and I like clean lines and things that have a simple elegance, we like some home accessories but we definitely like to keep them to a minimum. My favorite interior designer is Sarah Richardson because she designs in a way that is most similar to my personal aesthetic taste. My husband likes color and I do too but I am much more drawn to monotone color palettes; I find them to be soothing to the eye and love the feeling of visual flow one or two colors in various shades creates. I also tend to get bored with things very quickly and I’ve found that keeping things monotone helps me like them for a bit longer.

BTW if you see something you like, details about where to purchase the items are below.

The painting did not come out exactly how I had envisioned it but both Christopher and I are pretty happy with it. Let me just say that painting is MUCH harder than it may appear (even, maybe especially abstracts). I am an illustrator but I struggle with painting. I’ve always wanted to be good at it but I’m just not, painting a canvas this size is particularly difficult. I have a few more paintings that I want to do for some other rooms in our home but I definitely won’t be taking this up as profession!

Here’s a funny picture of Christopher and I when we were teenagers. No we haven’t dated since then. It’s a long story but in short, he was my first love, we met when I was 15 and he was 18, we dated for a few years then broke up and lost touch for 17 years and then in 2009 he found me on Facebook and now we’re married.

And here we are on the day we got engaged, December 11, 2011. It was an incredibly sweet engagement, he prepared a winter picnic in a beautiful park and proposed at sunset. It was cold, but our love kept us warm.

Wall Paint Color | 50% Granite Grey (Flat) by Glidden (We had the hardest time finding the right greys (we have a few shades throughout the home), we must have purchased 50 shades of grey paint samples. We couldn’t find the right one for this room so we ended up experimenting with lighter shades of tones we liked but were a bit too dark and we finally settled on this one and we love it!)
Rug | West Elm Boucle Rug in Platinum
Curtains | Ikea
Sofa | Belforte Furniture | Abbot Sofa Sectional by Rowe Furniture in Putty
Cocktail Metal Drum Table | World Market
Throw Pillows | Etsy  HereHere and Here(I want to note that Kathy from the Cottage Cupboard is a delight to purchase from, her fabrics are high end and the pillows are beautifully made.)
Sofa Console Table | Overstock
Watercolor Prints | Girl & Parrot (I blogged about Danielle and her Art here a few months ago, I am so happy to own some of her beautiful watercolors and I still want to purchase the In Bloom Print.)
Lamps | Home Goods
Vases | Home Goods
Buddha Head | Home Goods
Wood Puzzle | Home Goods
Glass Ball | Home Goods
Wood Art Figure | Michael’s
Terrarium | DIY (I purchased the Glass Bowl at Michael’s and the plants, rocks and soil at Home Depot.)

{ Sharon } June 10, 2013 at 5:40 PM
Shayla, it is gorgeous! I love the colors and the peacefulness and the patterns that are not overwhelming. So happy that you shared. I am definitely a slow decorator too! I would much rather spend months or even years waiting for just the right piece than jump into ones I don't feel enthusiastic about. I hope maybe you will share other rooms in your house too! Especially your workspace!
{ Shayla LaFreniere } June 11, 2013 at 9:52 AM
Thanks Sharon!
I'll share more rooms as we finish them including my work space.

And good to know I'm not the only one who takes a long time to decorate. :)
{ Tana } June 12, 2013 at 3:41 PM
What a gorgeous room! I love the painting and it's general feeling of calmness in it. Did you use acrylics or oil paints? Getting the colors to blend like that is tough and once the paints dry up, you have to start over!

I can't agree with you more, furnishing a home takes so long but it's definitely worth the wait to find all the right things.
{ Angel Y. } June 13, 2013 at 2:50 PM
Your room looks gorgeous! I love the way the painting came out. I'm totally a slow decorator. It's been a year since I've been in my place and I'm still only 30% complete. If my home looks anything like this when I'm done, the waiting will be worth it!
{ Latrina M. } June 15, 2013 at 1:02 AM
Wow, Shayla. Such a gorgeous home! You styled it so well, too. I love the colors... and all the details you chose. And as an artist, I must say your painting looks stunning! So calming.

I absolutely love the story of how you two met... I have no idea. :) So funny how the world works! So glad it brought you two back together. <3

Back From Vacation

Posted by Shayla LaFreniere on Monday, June 3, 2013.

I’m back from vacation and so happy to be home!

We actually ended up coming back a few days early and took a 3 day staycation which was even better than our vacation in Mrytle Beach. I’m going to be honest and say that we were not fans of Myrtle Beach, it was very, very, very dirty, there were no good restaurants, the one health food store/restaurant in town was super expensive, there wasn’t much to do and what there was to do was not so great and very overpriced; and did I mention that it was DIRTY!

We’re happy we went mainly because it was really nice for Christopher to experience golfing in Myrtle Beach but we definitely won’t be going back and would not recommend it. I had planned to take a lot more photos but there wasn’t much to photograph. The photos above were taken at Sunset the day we got there, it was a little cool but Christopher and I headed out to the beach so we could sink our toes into the sand.

Since this vacation was such a flop we’re trying to figure out where to go for our 1 year anniversary in August, we’re thinking maybe Canada or Jamaica (my home country) but we’re not sure. If you all have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them?

So anyway, now I’m back, I have a lot of great blogs coming your way and I’ve started work on the laLa Grace website so I can start working on the Wholesale portion of that business. I also have a lot of client projects to catch up on but I’m taking just one more day off… because 1 year ago today my Grandfather passed away and so I feel like I just need a little time to myself to reflect, pray, do some yoga, clean up the house, go to the grocery store and run a few errands.

Everything else on my to do list can wait until tomorrow.

{ Sharon } June 3, 2013 at 9:23 PM
Hey Shayla,

Wow, I had no idea Myrtle Beach wasn't great! It has always sounded "cool-" what a bummer! So sorry it turned out to be disappointing.

We went to Vancouver for our honeymoon, and also considered Banff. We enjoyed Vancouver, but not so much the "downtown" itself. We stayed on Granville Island, which is kind of a revitalized part of the city, and there was a open-air market in walking distance with a variety of food and iced white tea and I think herbal tea for sale! There were walking paths EVERYWHERE, and a big park with more walking paths. You can drive to Whistler if you want to check out the mountains and site of the Olympics. I'm trying to remember what else we did... I think I remember trying a vegetarian restaurant with an open courtyard that was good. Anyway, we enjoyed it, but then again that could just be because it was our honeymoon. :)

Will say a prayer for your Grandfather, may he rest in peace. :)

Happy vacation planning!
{ Shayla LaFreniere } June 4, 2013 at 9:48 AM
Thanks for the suggestions Sharon!
And yeah we were very surprised about Mrytle Beach as well but now we know. :)