Not Pregnant Poetry
Updated: Oct 8, 2022
Nothing in this text is meant to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition. The words here are my own experience, beliefs, and opinions. By reading this blog post, you acknowledge that you are responsible for your own health decisions. Please do not try anything from my website without proper research and medical supervision. When in doubt, contact emergency services.
I stumbled upon Christina Reed's Instagram account and immediately felt a connection to her. After looking into her story, I realized we shared a unique bond; we both process grief by writing. Her book Not Pregnant Poetry describes their struggle with infertility in beautiful detail, highlighting the effects of a miscarriage spread further than you may think. Christina doesn't set out to persuade readers in any particular direction. Whether your goal is to continue IVF treatments or adopt, she simply states, "If you're here, I'm here for you, and I've been there,".
As a former Labor and Delivery nurse, I have spent countless hours supporting women (and men) through miscarriages and medically-necessary abortions. It was the worst, and best, part of my job. Those were the shifts I left the unit hating God, and then the entire drive home I'd be thanking them because they trusted me to care for that family. The pandemic hit, and it seemed like I was caring for at least one family a week who was experiencing a neonatal loss. That must have meant I leveled up in God's eyes, right? I was chosen for this... but then I was chosen for another experience... my own.
I remember giggling in pure shock in the doctor’s office when I found out I was pregnant. Not an ideal way to find out I was expecting more than an urinary tract infection. Within seconds of hearing the word “pregnant”, I knew I was going to keep the baby. I was mid-divorce, moving into my studio apartment the next day, and ignorant to who the father was. But I knew I wanted that baby more than anything I’ve ever wanted. Other than my best friends and coworkers, no one knew I was expecting. I decided the who’s-the-daddy-issue would be figured out after the first trimester. I was a Labor and Delivery nurse for crying-out-loud; I knew my chances of miscarrying were high. I also believe in the “nurse curse” and immediately imagined myself with twins or some sort of complication during the pregnancy. I also decided to wait because it really didn’t matter if they wanted to be involved or not. This was my decision. I was standing up to the plate.
I started to take the best care of myself, for the baby's sake. No junk food, other than ranch flavored veggie straws (those were addicting). I started eating meat again because I wasn’t mentally able to handle juggling this massive life change plus a vegan lifestyle all on my own. I even bought scentless, hippy laundry detergent…
This is the part where I break my own heart describing the best, and subsequently worse, week of my life. On March 23rd 2021, I learned that there’s perks to working in Labor and Delivery, but finding out you’re miscarrying and having to help deliver babies is not one of them. Ironically, a few hours after getting home from work that night, I learned that recognizing the signs of a rupturing ectopic pregnancy are, indeed, a perk of being a Labor and Delivery nurse. (Thanks, mom for taking me to the hospital and keeping the baby a secret until I was ready to disclose. I love you and am so grateful for you.)
My grieving process started the moment the nurse told me my HCG levels hadn’t increased as anticipated. I knew in my soul that I wasn’t going to let this setback narrate the rest of my life. I was being offered a second chance. For lack of better words, a “do-over” from the universe. I was missing my right fallopian tube, but otherwise, I was ready to settle into my studio apartment and into my new life as a single woman!
Then the grief set in. I was supposed to have to figure out how I’d fit in this tiny bathtub when I’m seven months pregnant. I’m going to have to buy so many more tampons this year than I was expecting to. My left incision came unglued; that’s going to scar. I’ve never felt this alone. I have an entire bottle of scentless, hippy laundry detergent...
Through journaling and meditation, I realized I wanted to be a mother for all the wrong reasons. I began to hold space for myself to heal internal wounds that had nothing to do with the loss, but I was coming out of every session feeling better and better. I was able to realize the gift I was given. The catalyst for starting the next chapter of self-love, so that one day I’m the best mother I’m capable of being. I look back and I can see many things… but the only one I chose to see over and over again is a twenty-four year old girl letting intuition and positive thinking guide her towards healing.
Christina's book, Not Pregnant Poetry, describes how I felt about my loss perfectly:
Should I name you
Or should I forget you?
If you were significant
That means I lost something great
Thank you so much for taking the time to read about not only my story, but Christina's as well. If you need someone to talk to regarding your loss, please feel free to email me at: Rae.Shaleigh@gmail.com
If you're interested in reading Not Pregnant Poetry yourself (which I highly recommend), please use the code "WELCOME15" at checkout.