6 Things I Didn’t Know About Miscarriage Until I Had One

For anyone who is going through a miscarriage or knows someone who is: all the things I wish someone had told me!

For those of you that don’t know, about two months ago (June 27, 2017), I suffered a miscarriage.

Well, more specifically, I went to my regularly scheduled 12-week checkup and found out that my baby no longer had a heartbeat. I suppose you could say the next day (June 28th) was when I “truly” had my miscarriage – in the form of a procedure that removed my sweet baby’s body from mine.

This experience (and the weeks that followed) was one of the most jarring, shocking, uncomfortable things I’ve ever experienced (is uncomfortable the right word? I don’t care – it’s how I felt, and I’m sticking to it).

What shocked me, though, was how much I didn’t know about miscarriage before actually staring one in the face.

So, for anyone who’s curious, or anyone who has had a sister / mom / daughter / niece / coworker / friend / acquaintance suffer a miscarriage, here are a few things you might want to know:

1. You don’t always pass the baby “naturally.”

Being 12 weeks pregnant, I wasn’t given the option to wait and pass my child “naturally.” I’m sure if I had asked my doctor about it, she would have talked me through it, but frankly I was so shocked, I just cried, nodded, and did everything she told me to do. According to her, it’s safer (especially past 10 weeks) to simply go in and remove the fetus while under sonogram, because it ensures that there will be no tissues left behind (which could cause infections or other problems in the future).

To be honest, I always thought miscarriages just… I don’t know, “happened.” I didn’t even know there was a procedure for this specific incidence. I suppose I never had to think about it before, thankfully. Needless to say, I was incredibly thankful to have access to good healthcare during this whole process. My doctor, nurses, and anesthesiologist were all top-notch, and I’m so thankful that everything went as planned.

2. Some miscarriages are EXPENSIVE.

Wait, what?! You’re telling me that, not only did my baby pass away, and not only do I have to undergo surgery… but I have to pay almost $6000 for it?! Talk about adding insult to injury. While you’re at it, why don’t you give me a nice paper cut and pour some lemon juice on it?! (Sorry, is it not normal to quote “The Princess Bride” when talking about serious subjects? My bad. You might need to find a different blog if that’s not your jam).

This was probably one of the MOST surprising things, to me. Again, I never had to think about it before (hallelujah), but holy cow. My husband and I are on a preeeeeetty good healthcare plan, even after insurance adjustments, we owe a lot. of. dough.

I just kept thinking to myself, “I mean, yeah, giving birth to my daughter cost nearly $3,000… but at least I got to bring her home with me, you know?”

Of course, this one all depends on your healthcare plan and if you’ve met your deductible and lots of other boring adult shiz, but still – a D&C (the procedure I had) is nooooooot cheap.

3. You will have postpartum hormones, but you might not realize they’re postpartum hormones.

This one threw me for a loop. I mean, lots of people told me to “Just let yourself feel what you feel. Let it out. Cry. Eat ice cream. Watch Netflix. Rest. Do whatever you need to do. Get alone time. Sleep.” But nobody warned me of the fact that I would literally have postpartum hormones (which, for some of us, means hardcore, boot-licking, ass-kicking depression).

Of course, again – this is different for everyone – but the fact is, your body has to come down from the high of pregnancy hormones one way or another. If you’re one of those people who can gracefully come down from your Beyonce-queen-iambeautiful-pregnantsexgoddess hormones, well good for you, please leave the rest of us alone to cry in the shower in peace.

For me, post-miscarriage hormones meant HELLA stubborn, painful acne on way too many parts of my body, crying at basically the drop of a pin, sleeping constantly, wanting to strangle my husband, sobbing in the bathroom, craving weird foods (and lots of them), and wanting to snuggle my daughter 99% of the day (she’s 2. She wasn’t a fan). Keep in mind, all that on TOP of grieving the child I had just lost. Can you even imagine?! I couldn’t either. And I had NO clue what was happening.

When one of my friends reached out a few weeks later and asked if I had been suffering with postpartum hormones, I literally smacked myself in the forehead because I HAD NEVER CONSIDERED IT. I mean, hello, I’m an intelligent young woman with a college degree, and the thought just never crossed my mind… but suddenly, it all made sense!!

In the end, it’s hard to tell what’s grief and what’s hormonal. But I will say – the grief subsided, and some of those damn zits still haven’t. GET THE PICTURE, HORMONES. CATCH UP, WILL YA? SOME OF US ARE TRYING TO MOVE ON WITH OUR LIVES, THX.

4. Guilt is a major player in most miscarriages.

After my miscarriage, I talked to lots and lots and LOTS of women who had miscarriages. Unfortunately, there was a common thread: guilt.

Some moms feel guilty in the sense that they must have done something to cause the miscarriage. Was it because I ate that undercooked egg last week? Was it because I had sex the other day? Was I playing my music too loud?

(Yes, pregnant women are crazy. We have to be. We HAVE THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD IN OUR BELLIES, GET OVER IT).

Some women feel guilty because they don’t feel as much grief as they think they should. Some women feel guilty because their grief consumes them, and it takes them a long, long time to function normally again.

I fell into the former category.

Don’t get me wrong, guys: I loved that baby. I fell in love with that child the moment I saw those little pink double lines. I imagined his life (we weren’t sure about the gender, but I felt SO STRONGLY that he was a boy: our little Desmond). I thought about what he would look like, what he would be like, what things he would do and feel and see and think. I imagined that he’d be tall, like his dad, and possibly athletic, but also very sensitive – perhaps a soccer player // guitarist? I digress.

IMG_5327 2
Okay so I lied, the lines were blue. BUT STILL. LOOK HOW EXCITED.

And yet, throughout this entire heartwrenching process, I felt very peaceful. Did I cry? Like a baby. Did I wonder if I had done something wrong? Of course. Was I shocked? 100%. But I felt, in my heart, that God had his hands all over us and our situation. It just felt… I’m not sure. Right? Meant to be? In the very least, it felt okay. I was at peace pretty quickly, when it came to my miscarriage. I can’t say why, specifically, but I knew it just wasn’t the right time.

And then, of course, I felt guilty for not grieving more, which is silly.

Every woman is different. Every situation is different. If you’re going through a miscarriage, grieve the way YOU need to. If someone you know is going through a miscarriage, allow them space to grieve the way THEY need to. They may recover quickly – that’s great. They may need more time – that’s great too. Be there for them either way.

5. You will cry, and you will have no idea why you’re crying.

My situation was a little unique, since I had a 2 year-old to take care of.

But lemme tell you – once she was asleep for the night, the barricade came down (CAN YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING?) and the flood. came. forth.

I curled up in bed and sobbed like a baby while my husband rubbed my arm. I took long showers and – you guessed it – cried like a baby. I went for drives, and suddenly realized I was crying without even noticing. Oh, and as I’m typing this? Crying. No idea why, just – crying.

This went on for three or four days, and then I fell down the stairs and injured my back so badly that I couldn’t walk – which distracted me pretty well for about a week.

But every so often, I still cry.

The most random things trigger me: a friend’s pregnancy announcement, a newborn baby being passed around at church, a Charmin commercial featuring a dog playing with a toddler (I told you, random).

But that’s okay. It’s all part of the process. If that’s you, don’t feel bad. Don’t judge yourself. You’re human – welcome to the world, there are about 7 billion of us.

6. Miscarriage is SO. DANG. COMMON.

First of all, my doctor told me that ONE IN THREE WOMEN WILL HAVE A MISCARRIAGE IN HER LIFETIME. Like, hold the phone. One in three?! 1/3rd?! 33.33%?! How was I never taught this before?! Why wasn’t I more prepared for this inevitability?! Honestly, I kinda didn’t believe her (but then she told me about HER miscarriage and I was like “Okay lady, I believe you”).

Secondly, after sharing about my miscarriage on Facebook, approximately 3246234987 women reached out to tell me about their miscarriages. Most of them, I had NO CLUE about.

Then, when I called my insurance company to talk about payments and such, the WOMAN ON THE PHONE WITH ME TOLD ME ABOUT HER 3 MISCARRIAGES.

Like, hold the phone. All these women have had miscarriages and I didn’t know about it until now?!

It makes me think of what one of my friends said: it’s like a really big club you hope you never have to join, but once you do, you’re really glad the club is there.

100% true. Miscarriage is so, so, so common. Does that make it suck less? No. But, for me, it helped to know so many other amazing women had gone through similar things.

May I just say? Women are strong and amazing and I just love all of us. If you are a woman reading this, please know that I am mentally and emotionally giving you a massive hug and telling you how stellar and beautiful and strong you are.

So, here’s my point in all this:

For those of you going through a miscarriage right now:

Listen to your doctor, but don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t freak out about the money stuff (at least, not until much later). If you’re not sure why you feel super weird, blame your postpartum hormones (and talk to your doctor). You did your best, sister. Don’t waste time with feeling guilty. Guilt only serves to keep you down for longer – and you’re too awesome to be weighed down by all that. And finally: cry, cry, cry. Let it out. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re weak for crying. FEEL what you need to feel. Grieve the way YOU need to. I’ll be right here rooting for you, praying for you, and believing in you.

For those of you with a loved one going through a miscarriage:

Be her advocate. Ask her doctor / nurse / anesthesiologist questions, if she doesn’t feel up to it. Ask her what she needs, rather than giving her what you think she needs. Remind her that it’s not her fault. Remind her that you’re there. Remind her that she won’t always feel this hopeless. Let her cry, and don’t judge her for it. Let her cry in the shower, on the floor, or on your shoulder, if that’s what she needs. And if she has a spouse/partner, comfort them as well. They’re grieving too: just in a different way, possibly.

And just for the record, anyone who has suffered a miscarriage and needs to talk, can always pop me an email at kelsiewilhoit@gmail.com. I’m here. 🙂

Love you much!

kelsieesther

4 Fitness Experts Reveal their #1 Secret for Squeezing Exercise into a Busy, Hectic Life

Why is exercise always the first thing I toss off my “to-do” list when I get too busy?! I turned to four fitness experts to find their secrets on staying active even in the midst of this crazy thing called “life.”

We’ve ALL been there.

We all want to be more active, right?

Every year, we make our new year’s resolutions:

This year, I’m going to do yoga 5 times a week.

This year, I’m going to exercise on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

This year, I’m finally going to lose weight, have energy, and feel GOOD!

And for a few weeks, it works – right?

We’re excited. We get up early and make it happen, or maybe we pack our gym bag and stop on our way home from work.

Sure, it’s hard – but we’re starting to feel good, so we keep it going for a couple more weeks!

Look! I’m doing it! A girl really CAN have it all!

Then… life happens.

We get busy.

Something throws us off course.

Our excitement wears off, and we just don’t have the grit to keep pushing forward.

And then what happens?

Guilt. Shame. We look at all the busy people who still have time to exercise (I’m lookin’ at you, social media), and we feel BAD.

So, we minimize.

“Next year,” we say.

“I guess exercise just isn’t my thing.”

“I just don’t have TIME.”

I’ve been there, many a time. I’ve made the plans, tried my best, and given up. And I’ve seen this happen to TOO many of my friends and family. So the question is: what gives?

To dig into this phenomenon a little further, I reached out to four fitness experts in different fields, asking the question:

“What’s your #1 tip for fitting exercise into a busy, hectic lifestyle?”

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Up first is Johanna Kluemper, a group fitness instructor at LifeTime Fitness.

johanna

Johanna has been teaching group fitness for almost four years, and also has her NASM Personal Training certificate, along with a certificate specializing in Women’s Fitness. She teaches a variety of classes, from C9 to Barbell Strength to Strictly Strength. As a mom of two small children, I’m always majorly impressed at how she manages to prioritize health and fitness! Let’s hear what she has to say:

Plan it out. Schedule it in. Commit. If you know you have it scheduled, if you know the workout you are going to do ahead of time, if you’ve planned a gym buddy date, you are less likely to skip it. Even if you only have 5 minutes or 15 minutes, do something. The less time you have, the more you need to make it count and push yourself. Take it up a notch but keep it simple. So if you have 5 mins, do something like 1 min burpees, 1 min squats, 1 min push ups, 1 min bicycle abs, and 1 min tuck jumps. Boom! If you find you have more time, just take a quick rest and repeat for a few more rounds 😉. You’ll have broken a sweat and pumped that heart rate up in no time! And now, you can go on with your day ✔️

Find more about Johanna at her fitness page, Wine & Abs.

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Up next we have Destiny Ogden, a personal trainer and (in my opinion) fitness badass living in Florida.

destiny

I’ve been following Destiny’s fit pregnancy journey, and let me just say – she blows me out of the water! Here’s her biggest fitness lifestyle tip:

Fitness/working out/exercise has become a mandatory requirement in my life. There area few phases you go through when you begin an exercise regiment – the beginning will be exciting, but more so exhausting. You’ll find your muscles are sore more often, you’ll find you’ll sleep deeper at night, and you’ll wake up wondering if getting another workout in is really worth it. Then you’ll pass into the phase of enjoyment. You’ll really begin to “fall in love” with your routine. It becomes a habit over time. You’ll feel lethargic on days you choose not to workout, & you’ll feel like you’re missing out. Then eventually, over years, you may pass into the mandatory phase. The phase where working out is just as important as showing up to your job. This is the phase I’ve remained in over the past four to five years. This phase is making exercise a permanent part of your life. It’s the best phase to be in. With all this said, each phase takes its own amount of time. Each phase requires the same amount of dedication, but after you’ve pushed through and dedicated yourself during the beginning phases, you won’t need to convince your mind anymore. Your mind will be there, so you just do. Get to that phase, push through and make workout mandatory.

(LOVE this. Sometimes, you just gotta put on your big girl panties and DO IT, even when you don’t want to. Can I get an “amen?”).

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Our next fitness expert is my friend Alyssa Serchia, fitness & natural living blogger at Home Field Essentials, “Mommy Strong” fitness class instructor, small group personal trainer, football coach wife, and mom of two adorable peanuts.

alyssa

Alyssa is currently training to run a half marathon, and I’ve loved following her mom-of-two-littles fitness journey (I tell ya, it ain’t easy once you’ve got kids. People always told me but I DIDN’T BELIEVE THEM. It’s the truth, y’all. The truth). Seeing her blog posts keeps me motivated that if she can do it, I can too! Here’s her advice:

Schedule it, and make it fun! If you’re already busy and stressed, exercise should be the part of the day you look forward to, not dread! Find something you love to do and put it on the calendar!

Hallelujah for that – quit doing the stuff you hate! Whether you like dancing in your living room, running outside, or lifting weights – write it down and GET IT DONE!

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Our final expert is one of my personal girl crushes, Stephanie Davies.

steph

Steph is a badass Beachbody coach who daily inspires her team of almost 2,500 people – talk about BOSS status! Aside from travling 6-12 times a year, she has recently become a mother of two, dealt with a major personal loss in her life, AND bought and moved into a house. TALK ABOUT BUSY – not to mention stressful! Amidst these obstacles, Steph is all about taking care of yourself, busting through limiting beliefs, and remembering to have FUN in the process. I’ve been following her fitness journey for over a year now, and it’s incredible to see the things she has accomplished with grit, hard work, and a positive attitude! Here are her top tips for getting it done no matter how busy you are:

  • Find some accountability! Whether it’s a friend, family member, coach, or your entire social media following, let people know what you’re doing and why it’s important to you so they can support you. Your growth might make some people uncomfortable, if it does, send them love but protect your precious energy. Find people or a community that will celebrate your successes and be there to help you when you’re struggling. I run monthly groups and pull my own support from my customers and clients! Them showing up daily inspires me to show up for myself!
  • HAVE FUN! It’s 2017, there are about a gazillion different ways to move your body DAILY. It’s going to burn, you might cry, you’re going to want to quit, but you can still choose to make it FUN! Mix it up, keep your mind and body guessing, throw on some tunes and be in the moment and appreciate your body for carrying you through! I like to workout at home because as a mom of two it’s hard for me to attend yoga, spinning, or other classes often enough to stay in shape. So I do a little bit of everything and it keeps it fun and fresh and keeps me guessing! Today I went for a morning run and I’ll be doing a yoga flow from my bedroom tonight. Tomorrow I might treat myself to a class. There’s no one size fits all! But you do have to move more days than you do not 💁🏻
  • Remember that there is NO DESTINATION! You have to start seeing exercise as a part of your lifestyle, something you do daily, just like brushing your teeth! When we focus on a destination; a vacation, a number on the scale, etc. Have a bigger vision for how exercise makes you feel! More confident, strong, healthy, and build those values in your daily exercise practice!
  • Balance Balance and more Balance. With your exercise routine and your diet. You can’t out exercise a bad diet, so keep it simple and load your plate with as much living food and as little processed food as possible. I drink a superfood shake daily that helps me get in my daily nutrients, and then sometimes it’s donuts at the farmers market with my children. You don’t have to sacrifice LIVING, and it’s that all or nothing mentality that sabotaged my health for years. Once I surrendered to a lifestyle change and keeping things simple, everything changed and I was able to figure out how to stay happy and healthy for the long haul!

Get it, Steph! I especially love the part about there being “no destination.” Hell yeah! It’s a LIFESTYLE, not a quick fix! Every day is new, and every day is an opportunity to improve.

(You can follow Steph’s journey here, on Facebook).

Do you have a tip for prioritizing fitness even when you’re busy? Drop it in the comments below!

kelsieesther

How to Make Scary Decisions

Alternatively titled: Take a Deep Breath, It’s All Going to be OKAY. I promise. Pinkie promise.

I did something scary this past weekend.

Scary, exciting, and bittersweet.

I quit my job as a Group Fitness Instructor.

Like, quit quit. Donezos. Bye bye. Arrivederci, mama!

a4e

My national Group Fitness Certification was set to expire on July 31st, and instead of doing all the online quizzes necessary to re-certify, I just…

…didn’t.

Now, let me pop a little disclaimer in here:

I have nothing against the group fitness industry. I think group fitness people are awesome, fun, positive, and wonderful! And I have been SO thankful for my time at the YMCA and LifeTime Fitness!

Thankful, because I learned a few things about myself:

  1. I’m an introvert, with social anxiety.
  2. Introverts with social anxiety have a hard time standing in front of a room of people, especially as “me” instead of a character in a show (totally different ball game than theater!).
  3. I love the fitness industry – but that particular niche isn’t very rewarding for me! It leaves me feeling drained, and not in the good way – in the “Okay, I’m going to crawl in a hole and recover for the rest of the day” way.

And then, Jolie’s like:

MjAxMi1jNTg2MjI1YWI5YjNkOGVmIt’s just one of those things, where I thought about quitting for literally MONTHS. I ended up taking the avoidance route – dropping a class here and there, hoping that maybe nobody would notice if I disappeared from the schedule entirely.

But, guess what?

This coaching thing came along. And I thought, “Hey. That sounds like something an introvert with social anxiety could do!” (you know, because it’s computer-based).

And as it turns out… it IS something an introvert with social anxiety can do!

It’s something an introvert with social anxiety can do WELL!

My first week as a coach, I matched my group fitness income (roughly $65).

It grew from there, and last weekend while making this decision, I checked my bank account and realized:

I have more than TRIPLED my group fitness income with coaching.

All that driving around town, wrestling a screaming Jolie into her car seat, walking away from a bawling Jolie to teach my class, re-wrestling that same screaming Jolie BACK into her car seat to go home… THAT, 6+ times per week, and I TRIPLED that income by working an hour a day from my LAPTOP?!

Okay.

Hold the phone here.

WHY DIDN’T SOMEONE TELL ME ABOUT COACHING SOONER?!

So, long story short, the group fitness chapter of my life is over, and I’m okay with it.

I’m thankful for it, and I’m thankful that I have chosen to say “No” to a good thing, in order to have more time to say “Yes” to better things.

Because I truly believe there aren’t bad decisions and good decisions – there are decisions made with love and confidence, and decisions made with fear and regret – and it’s a CHOICE, PEOPLE.

I heard the best quote yesterday, while listening to a speech by my CEO, Carl Daikeler:

When racecar drivers are learning how to go around a tight bend, their trainers tell them one thing: Look at the ROAD, not the wall. If you look at the wall, you’ll hit the wall. If you look at the road, you’ll stick to it.

There are people in this world who live in fear and regret, and it’s not because they just suck at making decisions.

It’s not like decisions are forks in the road, and one leads to a grassy field of dancing flower children while the other leads to a dark forest of angry pitchfork babies.

People live in fear and regret because they are looking at the wall instead of the road! As they make a decision, they’re thinking “But what if I fail? But what if I end up missing this? But what if someday I regret this?”

And guess what? They do. Because that’s where their focus is.

So let it be known:

I feel confident in my decision. I KNOW that everything will be okay, because I will choose to see the positives and seek them out. I create my reality, and I know that now, I have more time for family dinners, creativity, movie nights, and relaxation.

Now, enough about me: let’s talk about YOU.

What decision are you struggling with? Are you stuck in a dead-end job, seeking MORE? Are you in a relationship that just doesn’t feel right? Are you on the fence about coaching, but scared to take the leap?

Here are 3 tips to help you make Hairy, Scary Decisions:

  1. Sit in a quiet, comfortable spot (but don’t fall asleep!). Imagine yourself having said “no” to whatever it is you’re thinking about. How do you feel? Are you relieved? Do you feel expanded, or contracted? Do you have a pit in your stomach? Now, imagine yourself saying “yes.” Same thing here – how the heck do you feel? Bold? Brave? Scared-but-in-a-good-way? Quick tip: Choose the one that makes you feel expanded, brave, scared-in-a-good-way. That’s always the right decision – not because the other decision is BAD (I don’t really believe in “good decisions vs. bad decisions”), but because this decision is outside your comfort zone – AND LIFE STARTS OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE.
  2. Instead of thinking about what you’re saying “no” to, think about what that “no” would allow you to say “yes” to. So, let’s say you’re trying to decide about the relationship you’re in. It’s SCARY AS BUTTS to say “no,” and walk away into the unknown, alone. But think of all the “yes” this would open up to float into your life! The RIGHT person! They’re not going to find you if you’re stuck in a negative, soul-sucking relationship. I can guarantee you that! Say no to good, in order to say YES to BEST. Sit down. Make a list of all the things you could spend your time on, instead of doing that thing you don’t really want to be doing. Then, when you say “no” to that thing, ACTUALLY DO THOSE THINGS. (This is key!)
  3. Calm down. Remember: Decisions aren’t split into “good” and “bad.” Ultimately, whatever choice you make will be fine, as long as you move into it confidently, with a positive mindset. So, you want to stay at your current job even though it’s maybe not “100% ideal?”? Awesome! I’m proud of you! You rock! Or, you want to quit your job and find a new one? Awesome! I’m proud of you! You rock!

Now, remember: decision-making is all. about. your. mindset.

So whatever you decide – frame it this way:

“I’m going to do this thing, it’s going to be great, and I’m going to MAKE it work for me,”

instead of this way:

“Um, I thiiiiiiink I’m going to do this thing, and I’m super unsure about it, and I don’t know if it’s right for me, maybe I’ll just dip my toes in, ummm…”

I promise you, the universe will thank you for being bold, brave, and true to yourself.

Friendly reminder: This is your life. You only get one. Whatever you do – do it with kindness, love, and self-respect.

Love,

kelsieesther

*Disclaimer that I’m required to include: Beachbody doesn’t guarantee any level of success or income: it’s all about how hard you work! ❤