I had surgery last Wednesday. I woke up heart broken and body destroyed.

I’ve spent a lot of my time crying since then. And by Sunday, all the crying started to make me feel panicky — shouldn’t things be getting easier? Why does the pain keep coming? Wave after wave, worse and worse.

I made an emergency appointment with my therapist on Tuesday morning. I told him that I couldn’t stop the thoughts and that when the thoughts came I couldn’t stop the pain. The tears. The torture.

He reminded me that I’m grieving. He told me that this is normal.

I had a follow-up appointment from my surgery with my ob/gyn today. I told her about all the bleeding that comes and goes, about my puffy, swollen (think over-risen bread in a loaf pan) ankles and feet. Everything hurts. She reminded me that I just had surgery. That my ovaries are still hyperstimulated. She told me that this is normal.

I explained it all to Seth over gchat and ended with “I hate this new version of ‘normal.'” It was the truest thing I ever typed.

Normal has never been this hard. Normal has never felt so broken.


One of the weirdest things about this new normal is the lack of intense focus, the goal in mind. We’ve tried for years (YEARS) to get pregnant. Appointments, pills, ultrasounds, procedures, injections, the works. Since April, when we started gearing up for IVF, the intensity has been even greater. All eyes on the prize. And we won the prize. We held it in our hands, so briefly. Even after winning, so to speak, the focus didn’t lessen — 9 months ahead to parent-dom and a baby on the way. The goals changed, but they were still intense… eat not to vomit, avoid the smells, schedule the appointments, do all the things. Until in one awful moment, there was no longer any goal at all.

Everything stopped.

And this weird place, broken body and soul, became my new normal.


My therapist suggested on Tuesday that maybe now I just focus on healing — my body and my mind. It’s hard to say ok to that, honestly. Because I don’t want to heal, I want my baby back, to go back to two weeks ago when that little heart was still beating inside me. But one of those things is possible and the other is not.

So to heal is the only way. The only focus worth having.

Healing has to become my new normal. Maybe I can hate that less?


Admittedly, healing definitely starts from without in this instance. I can’t tell you… can’t even begin to express… how much love and support Seth and I have felt in this difficult (absolute crap) time. My friend Margaret said to me, “I pray that you can look out the window at a beautiful day (as I’m doing now) and be able to thank God for all the amazing blessings that you HAVE received, knowing that there will be many more to come.” And the blessings that we HAVE received are unbelievable and generous and innumerable and amazing. We have so much love in our lives, we have each other, we have our pup, our families, our friends, our jobs, our health, and so many other really, really Good Things. Even the weather, which actually has been lovely, like Margaret said.

We are lucky in a lot of ways. And no one is lucky in all the ways.


On Saturday evening, my dad and I sat on a boardwalk on Mackinac Island watching the sunset over the bridge.

Mackinac Sunset

Admittedly, my faith has been shaken and my beef with the almighty feels kind of big right now, but my dad assured me that someday, I will find Meaning in this. Even this. I think he’s probably right. I can’t look too hard for it at the moment. I’m still too sad, too angry, confused and upset and… as I’ve said a million times, broken, to find it. To even know where to start looking. But maybe that meaning is what comes with healing. And eventually incorporation of that meaning into my life can become my normal. That would probably be a better place to be. Another new normal, a little better than the last.

8 thoughts on “Normal.

  1. I’m so sorry, Rachel. I truly empathize with you. I hate the “new normal,” too. I even hate that phrase. I don’t WANT to be “strong” or “brave” or whatever. I don’t want to do this, this healing, this moving on. I actually welcome the pain, even while I hate it, because then I know my baby was real, and her life was important. My worst fear is that my memories will dull, the pain will lessen, and I’ll forget. I don’t want to forget. She is real, and your baby is real, and that is important to remember. And I hope one day all mothers like us are able to find Meaning, but I find it the most costly, horrible, unfair lesson ever. Sigh. *hugs*

  2. This quote made me think of you and your search for meaning: “In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.“ -Aeschylus

    I can’t pretend to know what you’re going through. For me, loss has been like a wound. Once the numbness wears off, the pain takes over and you think that’s how it will always be. Then the healing starts, that slow process that is not a linear path, as people would have you believe. Some days you can pretend the wound isn’t there, and other days you worry at it like a broken tooth. No matter what though, it changes you. I think part of grieving is also mourning the loss of the Before, of who you used to be. And that’s okay too. Just keep breathing–that’s all you can do.

  3. I know all too well that feeling of being too sad, mad, and broken. I’ve been there and far too often myself. But over the last 8 years, I’ve learned one big lesson-that no matter how sad, mad, frustrated, or broken I feel right now after a loss, there will come a day that I can get out of bed and know I’m stronger for what I’ve endured. It’s not easy some days (and it will feel like every day is a marathon at the beginning) and it may not get easier all that fast. The grieving process varies so much from person to person. (In some ways, I’m still processing my first miscarriage as much as my tenth one and there’s seven years between the two.) But as someone who has come through the whole experience more than once, I can tell you that it’s okay to feel this way right now and it’ll be okay to feel this way tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that. It’s okay to just let yourself breathe, to heal, to just Feel. Today is your new ‘normal’ and it sucks. ALOT. But there will come a day when your ‘normal’ doesn’t feel so bad and you notice you can smile with your whole self again and you aren’t just going through the motions anymore. It probably won’t happen overnight, but you’ll get there.

  4. Rachel, I wish I had the words that would heal you and give you peace. I wish I could but as you know I cannot. I have read the wise words of others who have left you and can only concur and tell you will heal and process what has happened to you in you own way be forever changed. You will not forget but adapt and carry the beginnings of your little one in your own way forever. It has been 35 years since I too lost one. I have never forgotten and every fall especially, I think of her (I believe) and carry a little of piece of her forever in my heart. I believe you will too. No blame, no shame and sometimes, just no answers for the universal question of why? There is no timetable for your grief; take what you need.

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