After a Miscarriage: Pain and Power Ballads

Kyle at Fort Columbia State Park, WA (just over the river from Astoria, OR)

Finally home, although we already miss Portland. After two and a half weeks on the road we are finally home. The boys are up in bed. Dave is in the kitchen looking at all the mail and I am watching a recorded episode of, “So You Think You Can Dance.” I love that show! And maybe it is because I am finally home, or because I am finally alone, or maybe it is because I am extra super tired, but just now when I heard the first few bars of, “I will always love you,” tears started rolling, simple, slow and quietly down my face. I sucked a deep breath in and of course I thought of Whitney and yes, I wondered why she did not have someone watching her in that bathtub.

I watched the beautiful dance and then I listened. I think it is the words and I think it is because in this moment I see that I will not have another child. I get it and then I realize I am not breathing. I concentrate and tell myself, “breathe, Beth, breath,” and then I let the tears fall. I let them stream. Those words, as cheesy as they are, were reaching, reaching me and I am glad. Before tonight, whenever or wherever I heard those words sung, say in a dressing room, my car, or sung by at least one contestant every single year on American Idol, I blurted them out loudly and sung them with my best power-ballad-styled conviction. Didn’t we all?

Cathedral Tree/Column Trail Astoria, OR

Dave, while on a LDS Mission in Caracas, Venezuela, had a mission companion who incessantly played the Bodyguard Soundtrack, which of course includes the song, “I will always love you.” This guy played the Bodyguard soundtrack so often that one day Dave could not take it any more and in an instant he threatened to toss that damn Bodyguard Soundtrack cassette tape out the window. “Use your headphones!” Dave demanded! “If I hear that music played out loud one more time, the tape is gone! I will throw it out the window!”

Not soon after Dave uttered those words, his companion must have either doubted Dave’s threats or simply could not resist his sweet, sweet Bodyguard Soundtrack and had to play the “and I, yi, yi, yi I will always love you, ew, ew’s,” one more time. Upon hearing those first bars, Dave walked over, stopped the cassette player, pulled out the threatened cassette tape, walked over to the window, opened it and threw that damn Bodyguard Cassette out the window, where it fell to its untimely or timely (depending on how you see it) death; no sooner to be run over by a car below.

Dolly Parton wrote the song in 1973 after a break-up with her partner and mentor, Porter Wagoner. Tonight I listened to the Whitney version, and as I heard those very first bars, “If I should stay, I would only be in your way,” I let go, gave in and was somehow able to disconnect from the gooey, overly sentimental and overplayed aspects of that song and just listen. It was like our child was singing to me. Crazy, right? It was as if my broken hopes were saying, “hey Beth, I get it. I know you wanted another child for years. I know when you found out about me you were mad. I know you wanted to carry me, to feel me grow. I know you were scared. I know you didn’t want me. I know you did. I was here, but I had to go. I know you felt me leave. I know. I get it and somehow you will be ok.” Now how weird is that? How weird is it that a reality dancing show playing an overplayed Whitney Houston song brought me to soul-gripping tears? I thought it was a little weird too, yet it did.

As the song ended (I rewound and played the dance through twice), well, as the song ended a second time, there were no long drawn out power-ballad crescendos from me. Instead I just heard myself saying,

And I will always love you. I will. Then I held my breath again.

At the top of the Column Astoria, OR

A question I have been asked a lot about the last few days besides, “are you ok?” is, “was it painful?” or better, “you really don’t mention the pain at all?”

The answer, if I can give you one: it was horrific! It was horror movie bloody, gory and I felt searing, gut-wrenching pain. I felt pain before the hospital. I felt pain the night before, at lunch, at Ruby Jewel and once there, if it were not for Liz, the amazing Ultrasound tech, I believe I would have passed out from the intensity, literally! Finally, as the blood continued to gush like some insane river, Liz yelled at my nurse, “Do not listen to her. She needs something for the pain!” The nurse tried to have a business-meeting styled conversation with me and began dissecting every single word as he asked me what I wanted or if I even needed pain medicine. I tried to rationally answer him in between tears, terror and my constant questions, “What is happening to me? Why is there so much blood? I can feel it rushing over your hand. Liz, the blood. It will not stop!”

Dave and Liz both piped in. “Do not listen to her. Get her something now!” Grateful. I am so grateful! It hurt, but I wanted to feel that hurt. My stupid nurse played right in. I think he wanted me to hurt to. I felt like he was thinking, “well, she isn’t having a baby so how could it possibly hurt that badly?”

I wanted to bleed through my nightmare and get through. I wanted to feel this moment. I needed to feel this moment so deeply that I will never forget these last seconds that I was pregnant. I kept thinking of the last moments I nursed Eli. It was May 2003. I looked at his sweet little face and said to myself, “This is it. Do not forget! Look at him and remember this moment. It may not happen again.” Did I jinx myself? I don’t think so. I am grateful I remember. I am grateful I remember what it is like to hold a baby in your arms and nurse. I remember how it feels to fell so close. I want these moments seared into the involuntary spaces of my soul. There is no other way to say it. I wanted to feel this pain so I never forget. They were contractions. I finally realized. Another friend asked about them. When she was miscarrying she told me she had really horrible contractions.

Yes, I had them. They came on hard and they came on fast. I thought I was going to die. Seriously I was like, “what the hell is happening to me? Really? What?” Because there was no baby, I had a difficult time connecting to the fact that they pain I was feeling was indeed labor. Because there was no baby, I felt like I deserved this pain. Seriously. That is how it was. I already knew I had failed and because this was the end, albeit a surprise ending, it was the end of a very long road. And because it was the end, I needed to feel the pain.

The bridge between Oregon and Washington at Astoria


Earlier today I had my blood drawn. I am assuming my hCG is going doing and that my Hemoglobin is where it needs to be. Cross your fingers that my products of conception have flown the coop and that I am on my way. Yes, Thom and Adam, to be continued. I will give you the word as soon as I hear from my doctor.

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Stevens Johnson Syndrome Family Recovery: Tell Me How to Cry. Please.

Me & the Boys

It appears that I have lost the ability to cry. No. Really I have. Once in a while I can muster up some mist around my eyes. On occasion I can even convince a few tears to roll (albeit uncomfortably) down my face. And once in a while a kind word, or an unexpected look pushes all the tears out. Of course these unexpected tear-moments make me furious. Then, as quickly as the tears start, I demand they stop.

Earlier, as I sat in my therapist’s office (yes I go to therapy, don’t you), well, as I sat in her office with purpose I declared,

“Today I am going to cry! I need to cry! I do not know how I am going to cry, but I will. I will think of dead puppies or cute little babies, babies lost at Disneyland, that is. I will imagine sad things until one of these heartbreaking images finally dislodges my tears.  I know they will. I know they will, because I really need to weep.”

We laughed. I urged her to shout at me, humiliate me, and demand that I cry. Saying something like this, I suggested:

“Cry, Beth! Cry Now!”

We laughed. And then I came close.

Here is how it happened. I said something like this,

“I think this next story would make anyone cry.”

Just thinking about Kyle and his crazy bloodied face made my throat swell, and my heart scream. Then I talked about all the people I pissed off while Kyle was in the hospital, people who had their own version of helping and being involved. I am usually week to these sorts of offers. But because this was about Kyle, not me, I found some strength to give him what he needed, not what the helpers thought he (and really our family) should have.

“I don’t understand why they didn’t get it.” I exclaimed and continued,  “I had nothing to give. Why couldn’t anyone see that. I was doing my best to keep Kyle alive. I was doing my best to make sure he didn’t go blind. I shut the world out so I could stay afloat. Why don”t people get that?”

I still do not know why people do not get that. I was not letting anyone in. Dudes, I cannot even cry. Why would you think I could accept your help?

As often is the case while in therapy, or really, while talking, words were coming out of my mouths and I was thinking about something completely different. I was thinking about about the second time we admitted Kyle to Primary Children’s Hospital. I was talking about crying and what I was seeing is Kyle. I saw him. I see him sitting in that 3rd Floor hospital room, pleading, pleading with all of us. In my imaginings I see him in worn hospital clothes. In truth, he was wearing his own pajamas. I see him screaming.  In reality, he was screaming. Instead of tears, I felt anxious. I felt sick and I thought about how we had to change Kyle’s his room. It is strange the things that happen in the hospital. For us, we felt claustrophobic, which I am sure is not completely uncommon. Consequently, the first room they assigned us to was way too small. Kyle and I were breathless and overwhelmed. I am certain there is a good argument about Feng Shui somewhere in there. Thankfully, the nurses were nice. They knew how devastated Kyle was to be back and moved us to a different room. Thank God they did.
We were no more than five minutes into our new room when Kyle stood in the center. Emphatic, he began screaming:


Yes. It was too much. The vision of Kyle scabby-faced and powerless was enough to send me back to the moment I was in now — back in my therapist’s office. Safely away from that moment, I took a breath and watched as Kyle walked away from the center of his new room over to the windowsill. He climbed up onto the windowsill, turning his body away whimpered,


Kyle had been sick for so long. I was so sad for my boy. I was mad. I was exhausted.  Like a runaway train, helplessly, Dave and I stood there watching. We watched as our boy completely unraveled.  Thank God for angels. Because as we stood all dear-in-headlights like, our former neighbor happened to walk. Lo and behold she is in charge of Patient Relations.

“PLEASE.” I asked her. “I don’t know what to do. He is losing his mind. He feels so trapped and helpless. He is mad. He is not getting better. We had to bring him back for a new treatment. He is depressed. He does not believe it will work. He does not trust us.”

I do not know why she was there, but she was. It was around 7:00PM. We delayed, I mean fought, bringing Kyle back to the hospital. We did not want to put Kyle through any more unnecessary treatments.

“Can you come talk to him?” I asked her.

“Sure.” She came in the room and tried.

“Please. Please let me go home! Why? Why do I have to be here?” Kyle pleaded in choked and heaving sobs.

I knew it. I knew how he was feeling: Powerless. Your life, your every breath is in someone else’s hands. It is black, breathless and sad. Kyle was suffocating and so were we.

“Kyle, I know it is not fun, but you have to be here. You have to be here to get better. Your doctor needs you here. She needs to make sure you are ok.” She said.


She continued, “Kyle, they want make you better.”

Now quietly pleaded, he said, “Please — please let me go home.”

“Beth, Beth, what do you want me to do? I do not know what to do.” She said.

“He is scared. He is mad and he does not understand. He feels cheated. He does not trust that he will be ok. He is not better and he is so tired of being sick.”

I walked out of Kyle’s new hospital room to catch my breath. That is what I did. She followed. My friend tracked down a hospital social worker who literally talked Kyle off of the window sill.

I felt my voice crack. I feel it crack now. Tears want to come and then I hold my breath. Now it is a habit.

My therapist talked about how locked down I am. I am.

“It is understandable, Beth. You could not let your guard down. You had to be there for Kyle, for Eli and for your family. You had to stay strong.”

“And now it is cumulative.” I said. “I think I stopped crying and unplugged after my miscarriage(s) and then we moved. Every time there is a new heartbreak, my tears grow smaller and smaller. I don’t know how to heal my broken heart. I do not know how so I take deep breath and move forward. And now, I do not know how to cry.”

So back in that room and ever so ironically, I thought about my college boyfriend. When we finally broke up, I cried for months. It was ridiculous how much I could cry.  Ask anyone who knew me then, I I could not stop. I am a little embarrassed about that time and today, I also long for that time. I long for those moments when I could cry so deeply and so freely.

As far as my tears go, I always come close.

Then I snap out of it. See, what they don’t tell you is that when you come home from the hospital like actually might get worse. It is lonely. Visitors stop coming (yes, probably because I scared them away -wink, wink). Instead, I think I need to be strong. And right now as I type this post Kyle is sick again. He is sick a lot. His immune system is so weak. I start to believe everything is ok and then he is sick. He says,

“I just want to sit here and be with you.”

What do I do with that? When will he be safe? Forget crying. When can I breathe?

This is Kyle after he was home from the hospital, the time he was supposedly better.
This is Kyle after he was home from the hospital, the time he was supposedly better.


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I needed to Fix Myself

I was pregnant here. You can see the beginnings of my pregnant belly. 6.17.06
Dave & Me. Thanksgiving 2011

As I crawled in bed late last night Dave, who was already in bed, said, “I read what you posted. Wow! That was a lot. That was really good. You are a good writer.”

Thinking he was talking about the post I had just written on Overweight Women, confused and perplexed I said, “Well, thanks, um, didn’t you edit that post earlier?”

“No. The one you posted on Facebook.” He responded.

“Oh. My Fix-You Post.” I said and because I was tired and caught of guard by his thoughtful comment, I mean, (I don’t think Dave would feel especially compassionate about the overweight woman who was smoking while carrying her catheter bag into her dialysis appointment), I continued, “I am working on my archives. That was one of the last posts I wrote  before I quit blogging and it was one of the first posts I was able to recover from the sever-back-up Vortex. It was always a favorite.  I didn’t read it today. It is too sad.”

I turned over, smiled and was grateful that he had read it.  Dave’s feedback meant more to me than almost any other feedback I have ever been given. Go Dave!

The “Fix-You” Post was so sad  because I was so sad and right after that I quit blogging.  I quit blogging because my heart was broken and I spent the next five years trying to put my heart and the rest of me back together. It was more than blogging. I stopped and changed everything. I put my two feet on the ground and pointed them forward.

It is estimated that since Eli was born (he is 10) that I have had at least twenty miscarriages (I stopped counting). I could have chosen to adopt. I could have talked Dave into using a surrogate (probably not) and  even now that I am much older, every single month I still ask myself, “What if I am pregnant?”  It never leaves.  It just does not and so it is what it is. What I want you to know is that I use my pain to see opportunity. My heartache has morphed  into gratitude and  my lack of control has taught me to let go. And yes, getting here has been anything, but easy.


Opportunity is what it was and opportunity is how I spin things now.  The one opportunity I did walk away from was my daily interaction with wonderful people who came to Without a word or an explanation, I unplugged and I walked away. Bloggers and readers alike were always kind and good to me and believe me, when I left, I missed all of them.  As I sit here and type I know that I would be over the moon if I ever could have that same internet connection again (get the play on words . . . internet & connection . . . he he he). Seriously, it would be beyond my dreams!

The opportunities I did have way back in August 2006 were my late miscarriage and imminent mental crash. It was time for me to accept the fact (or at least start accepting) that I may never give birth again and this was a not-exactly-how-I-had-envisioned-my-life opportunity to stretch.


Here is how it went. We sold our house. We moved into a tiny tiny condo in Park City, UT. Dave would go to our land, work on our new house everyday, Kyle would go to school and Eli would go to pre-school. I, well, I would sit home and sleep or play Peggle. I spent hours and hours every single day playing Peggle. I played Peggle so much that I finally confessed my Peggle Addiction to Dave. He already knew. He mentioned an article he had read about combat soldiers who play Tetris. “They play it to help with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”  That was all I needed to hear and I kept on playing. I played Peggle for months and months and months. I loved my high scores I loved watching where the orange ball would go.

Eventually and still in my Peggle fog, we pulled Kyle out of first grade because he was so far ahead. He had gone to an accelerated kindergarten the year before and in October when the Principal at his new school told me it was fine for Kyle to “hang out” until the end of the school year (doing absolutely nothing, except getting in trouble), Dave and I knew something needed to be done. Because I was on Peggle-Auto-Pilot Dave took the lead and found a Homeschooling group (I was not about to Homeschool), which led him to this Hippie Montessori School. Dave went over to the school and loved it. I resisted for a few weeks until he finally dragged me over to check things out. Miss Diane, the long haired sixty-five year old director was wearing leggings, Uggs and a denim shirt. The school is in a house-slash-barn and I saw lots of feathers, Indian gear and Dreamcatchers. Because nothing is ever completely ideal, the school would end up being this crazy, dysfunctional, magical-talking-stick-duct-taped together Fairyland, but in that moment Miss Diane grabbed my sad sad face, kissed it, then looked me right in the eyes and said, “You will love it here. I know you will.”  She hugged me and welcomed me into her crazy-Hippie-Montessori-Planet. As confused as I felt, I knew and to this day know, that Miss Diane loves and accepts me, crazy parts and all. We paid our overpriced deposit, filled out our paperwork and signed Kyle up.

Miss Diane & Kyle


In late 2006 Diane and the Another Way Montessori School Community was everything this Adams Family needed to heal our broken hearts. No one knew anything about us. We had a clean slate and I loved it. We were simply the weird family, who was building a house up the street. And really at Another Way, everyone is a little weird and outside-of-the-box. Because of this we all fit into this little Park City Island of Misfit Toys. I loved it! I loved getting caught up in fundraising. I loved learning about Yellowhawk, the Indian. I loved that Sausha’s dad is Bart The Bear’s Trainer. I did not love that the dog-wolf hybrids came to the school, but my kids did.  I loved learning about the Talking Stick and I loved that Another Way was NOT Peanut Free. I sent my kids with their Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches to school and I loved that I could.

Miss Diane is a world renowned ski instructor and we love that she taught our boys to parallel ski. No snow plowing allowed. I love that the boys learned to ride and groom a horse and I loved that the horses were at the school. It was not very long after we signed Kyle up that Miss Diane convinced us that Eli needed to be there too. It was easy. It was safe. If I needed time to breathe, the boys could stay late.  As Dave and I continued to do infertility treatments I always knew we could leave the boys with Diane. I really believe we found our very own Modern Day Hippie Commune. It was disorganized, unpredictable and I loved it. The friends I made there are friends I will have for life.

As I was talking to one of those friends earlier today I was mentioning how our choices take us to where we need to be. I mentioned my second act, the-what-I-did -after-my-miscarriage-broke-my-heart act. My friend is my very same age and has had similar struggles and I said to her, “You know how you always tell me to put my feet on the ground and point them forward? Well, when I moved to Park City, that is what I did. I had no idea what would happen. I was so sad. And then I started opening my heart ever-so-slightly  and there you were, a better friend than I could hope for. You got it and  understood this crappy infertility road and since the moment we met at Another Way, you have always been willing to travel the road with me.”


Grateful is what I am. I am stubborn. I desperately want to control all outcomes. When I let go, when I point my feet forward, people and places always come into my life that heal me and are so much better than anything I could have imagined. Because I got out of bed and put my feet on the ground, I could begin to heal.

Eli the Very Serious Equestrian and Miss Diane
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