Today, I’m thinking about Mother’s Day. I’m not a mom. I am grappling with the reality that I may never be a mom. However, today is not about me. Today is about my mom.

My mom is an amazing women. She loves.  She loves with her whole heart and soul.

She cares for all people. Her life is dedicated to helping those in need. On any given day she may be at home caring for her three kids, and whatever friends or stray animals they bring home (we particularly liked to bring home cats which everyone in the house is allergic to). She might spend her evening working on math, spelling or proof reading reports. She may spend her evening running 1 kid to soccer, another to ballet and the other to his part time job. She might be running around the grocery store trying to plan a weeks’ worth of healthy meals. She may be tending to a sick child, who believes their cold is going to result in the Armageddon. She may be brokering peace between the youngest and the oldest, who really like to fight with each other. And, she may be doing all of this in one evening, sort of like a real life superwomen. Or, if she’s at work, she’s dedicated to helping the less fortunate turn around there lives by developing skills and finding meaningful employment. Or she might be using her few precious free moments to help at the local church or at one of the kid’s schools.

My mom leaves a lasting impact. My mom inspires people to do more. My mom inspires me to live life to its fullest. To trust in society and the common good. To find the silver lining at the end of a bad day. To find the good in everyone. To dedicate my life to those in need. To live responsibly and within our means. To smile more. To believe. To care. To love.

My mom is no longer actively doing any of this. She is no longer loving, caring, or giving of herself. My mom is dead. She died suddenly 17 years ago, when I was just a young girl of 14. But, in death my mom continues to leave a lasting impact. My mom continues to inspire me. My mom continues to push me to be a better person.

Now, I’m not saying my mom was perfect, everyone makes mistakes every now and again and I’m sure she did. Yes, we fought – I wasn’t always the easiest child. But, I am saying, she lived her life good and right. And, in the eyes of this 14 year old girl, my mom was as close to perfect as one can get.

I will always respect my mom for everything she accomplished in life. I aspire to be half the women she was.

I will always love my mom.

My husband and I have always been told that we are very practical. We make decisions in a very systematic and calculated way, which results in us being very practical and efficient. But, it wasn’t until a recent conversation with my psychologist discussing how our 4th miscarriage was actually occurring, that I truly appreciated just how practical we are – mainly because she actually laughed and said “of course you two would have a practical miscarriage”.

We have learned, apparently, not many people are as practical about a medically induced miscarriage as we are. To be fair, although slightly sad, not many people have 4 consecutive miscarriages, so we are getting good at miscarriages which results in us finding efficiencies in the process.

So, based on our experiences, here are step-by-step instructions for how to have a practical miscarriage:

Step 1 – Confirm fetal demise (i.e baby has died).

Step 2 – Determine miscarriage options – D&C, medically induced, or natural. This is a personal decision to be made with qualified medical professionals, and the options available to you might vary based on your circumstances – we’ve had 2 medically induced (one ended in an emergency D&C and the other did not go well and took 4 weeks to complete), one natural, and 1 scheduled D&C.

Step 3 – Chose medically induced miscarriage option.

Step 4 – Call in sick to work. I have worked from home between pain killers with 3 of the miscarriages, but honestly, it’s just easier not to work.

Step 5 – Husband must also call in sick to work, or at least rearrange his schedule to work from home. He was not allowed to leave me unattended in case of complications, which we seem to always have.

Step 6 – Tell everyone who knew about the pregnancy that the baby is gone. This doesn’t have to occur exactly at this point, but in our experience the longer you wait, the more questions you get from people expecting to hear about a healthy pregnancy. I found text and email made this step a lot easier than actually having to have the conversation.

Step 7 – Find someone to walk the dog. Or find ways to burn the dog’s energy while in the house. Remember, husband cannot leave wife; so, dog walks cannot happen.

Step 8 – Get groceries and easy to make meals. (We forgot this step last time, it made things a lot more difficult because my husband couldn’t leave me unattended for 5 straight days, and I was in no shape to grocery shop).

Step 9 – Purchase lots of pads for blood and keep them in the bathroom you intend to use.

Step 10 – Prepare a “bed” in the bathroom you plan to be closest to. We chose the basement bathroom because it’s a large room with space and is right next to the basement family room.

Step 11 – Prepare the basement family room and futon/couch for living in for at least a few days. Turn the futon/couch into a bed for a few days, using old towels and blankets. Remember comfortable pillows and clothes – it’s going to be your “home” for a few days, so make it cozy. Our basement family room was chosen because it offers close proximity to the basement bathroom and is the least desirable bed in the house, so we figured if there’s a lot of blood, it’s the easiest and cheapest to clean or replace.

Step 12 – Prepare multiple books, movies and TV shows for a marathon session – you could be here for a few days. Find shows both of you like, so you can both enjoy watching TV. Of course, when I’m drugged up, my husband can watch whatever he likes. Gotta love Netflix!!

Step 13 – Stop at your local pharmacy to fill pain medication prescription(s). I’ve had medical miscarriages with low dose pain meds and powerful pain meds. I may have a low pain tolerance, but I will never go through one again without strong pain meds. Sort out your pain meds with your doctor as this will be unique to each person.

Step 14 – Take medication to start miscarriage (you may repeat this step multiple times, which means this step may take multiple days).

Step 15 – Husband moonlights as a pharmacist to control the intake of narcotic painkillers. Hopefully, in turn, reducing the chances of developing a pain-killer addiction (I’m told, pain-killer addictions would result in additional complications for future pregnancies, would cause multiple problems for my career and reduce our general quality of life, so we take every practical effort to avoid this situation).

Step 16 – Husband moonlights as a scheduler and taxi driver to ensure we get to all medical appointments safely (apparently, driving while on pain meds is considered illegal in Canada).

Step 17 – Husband moonlights as chef as he takes over all cooking responsibilities (apparently, not a good idea to use a hot stove when high on pain-killers). Remember, the grocery shopping discussed in Step 6, will really help.

Step 18 – Husband moonlights as communicator responsible for all communication with family and friends (not a good idea to text family members and friends, or attempt to work, when high on pain-killers, particularly when many people don’t know what’s going on). Anyone who knows what you are going through will want to know that you are okay.

Step 19 – Have actual miscarriage and take appropriate pain medication (of course, with us, it can never be that simple and mine took almost a full week to get through the worst of it. So the basement set-up was vital).

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