I just spontaneously decided I would give the context of my authorship on this little blog. I’m currently sitting at my built-in-table right underneath the biggest window in our tiny home. I can see the ocean, I can see snow covered mountains, and a sunny cloudless sky. I’m looking out at a small port in the Alexander Archipelago of Alaska’s Southeast. The village is Hoonah. The population less than 800. And Tyler and I are 2 of them. I’m also semi-covered in paint. I primed a section of new sheetrock my husband put up the other day to fill in a strange hole in one of our interior walls. While I wait for the primer to dry, so I can add the top coat- a lovely greige (the new beige), I’ll write.
This morning I woke up and decided I was ready. Ready to write about something deep and personal, something sad and happy, something so common yet so significant.
We don’t have kids, yet:) But I have had the strange and AWEsome experience of being pregnant. Instead of thinking of it as a miscarriage in my mind I tend to simply think of it as ‘that one time when I was pregnant.’ Because honestly that’s what it was to me.
Here is the background: Tyler and I had been married for a year and a month.
It was JUNE 2013.
Location: Hoonah, AK
Tyler and I were living the DREAM. We were finally getting used to being married, we had our own little rental right on the water in downtown Hoonah. We had the BEST summer job you can imagine. Hoonah is a cruise ship destination from May-September and Tyler and I worked for the only stream fishing outfit on the island. The waters here provide an INCREDIBLE place for Alaska salmon stream fishing. We were the co-guides for every stream fishing trip that was booked through the cruise ships that came to Hoonah. This meant we picked up our groups of 5-8 guests, outfitted them in fishing waders, poles, and shoes, loaded them up in a 15 passenger van, drove out dirt logging roads to a highly active creek full of fish- and you guessed it- brown bears. We then taught them to fish, took loads of pictures, and brought them back after around 3 hours. And then we did it all again multiple times a day. We got to work together everyday. We got to tell our story frequently and even witness to some of our fascinated guests. Our office was the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness and to top it all off we had a RECORD summer for sunny hot weather. The dress code was chest waders and tank tops. It was a DREAM.
Just as we were getting used to the fast pace, go go go routine of seasonal tourism I realized my period was late. Of course I attributed it to the recent move, job change, etc. But we were both slightly freaked out so I bought a test. It was a Tuesday morning in June. It was 6 something am. We had three fishing trips that day, the first scheduled to start in an hour. And that’s when I peed on the stick. I couldn’t wait, I couldn’t not know before the long day ahead. I sat in the bathroom until that fateful red line appeared and then brought it out to show my young husband.
We just STARED at each other.
Before we got married we decided together that we would not use the pill as our birth control method. Neither one of us is 100% morally against certain versions of the pill, but given my previous history of chemical imbalances, PMS related depression, and a mutual conviction about not wanting to be dependent on pills, we chose to use natural methods instead and ended up following a version of the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). Looking back now it is almost comical how ignorant we were. We tracked my ovulation based on the calendar method of counting days and abstaining or using condoms during the most fertile time of the month. We knew it wasn’t fool proof whatsoever, but we trusted that God was in control of when our family would start to grow. Since the pregnancy I laugh at our ignorance of the FAM but I admire our resolve to let God lead. We just didn’t know what that would really mean.
In the time it took you to read that interlude, back in the tiny water front rental Tyler and I were still staring at each other. SHOCKED. Not that it could happen, but that it DID happen. We were pregnant. And we had NO IDEA what to do next. 22 years old, living in a random Alaskan village, working seasonal jobs with no clue about our future, we were going to have a KID?!
Needless to say the next few weeks were life changing for both of us. It’s funny- once I got over the initial shock, frustration, anger and self-pity that my life was over and finally settled into the idea that God allowed this to happen therefor he must think we can handle it (which took about 2 weeks)- I loved being pregnant. I wasn’t very sick, I was tired a lot more, but I loved having such a huge secret that only Tyler and I knew about and I loved my body. I loved how different it felt, how big my boobs got, how excited I was for a bump to start showing, and how all of a sudden my physical insecurities vanished because my body was now something vital to a little life and was somehow (in my own mind) no longer subject to the criticisms of the world.
Tyler and I grew so close that summer. It solidified so many things that were still fragmented in our marriage. We had to trust each other. So we did. We had to figure everything out together. So we did. We had to trust God. So we did.
And then I started to bleed. The midwife we had visited in Juneau said sometimes it’s normal. I went up to Anchorage for a best friends bridal shower the last week in July. I went alone without Tyler for 2 days. And that’s when it happened. I was about eleven weeks along. Almost to the second trimester. And all of a sudden after one painful night, it was over. It was gone. She was gone. We thought of her as a girl with a name already. We had bonded somehow with a tiny fetus we never even heard the heartbeat of. And then God took her home. And left me empty and confused, but mostly just tired and sad.
Unexplained miscarriages in the first trimester happen in around 1 in 4 pregnancies, according to the midwife. So common. Yet so significant. I woke up this morning ready to write it down. Ready to even share it on the internet for anyone to see. Just as I was sitting down to write at my beautiful built in table in my paint covered clothes, I realized that she would have come next week. Actually any day now. The midwife gave us not a due date, but a due week in her wisdom, which was the first week of March 2014. Today is the last day of February.
Since last summer, our life changing significant summer, I haven’t very often been sad about my miscarriage. But one good friend who also experienced a miscarriage explained that I might get sad at random times and feel the loss especially when the predicted due date came and went. And she was right.
And Tyler and I were right too. God is in control. Whether you use the birth control pill or not, He alone is the giver of life. And sometimes he gives and sometimes he takes away. And that’s good. Because He is good.
Today I’m trusting in his goodness. And I’m thankful for my pregnancy. And I’m excited for the chance to experience it again one day when He decides it’s time.
Since last summer my husband and I have done extensive research on the FAM and continue to use the ovulation tracking method based on an awesome smartphone app from a company called Kindara. It is THIS reliable. We highly recommend it. When I began writing this post I expected to focus mainly on the idea of natural methods for avoiding pregnancy, but that will have to come in a follow up post. Today was just my story. Thanks for reading.