My Miscarriage + Salted-Caramel Poke Cake
So, it's been a tough week. Obviously. Obviously. Tough weeks usually include a bit of totally guilt-less emotional eating. Not in the triggering, out-of-control, bingey way, but in a the soothing, therapeutic way. Baking is fun, it's creative, it's rewarding, and it's delicious. I usually eat the treats when I'm hungry, but I eat them when I'm not sometimes, and that's fucking okay.
This blog post is going to be a VERY INCREDIBLE, DELICIOUS RECIPE and a very dramatic personal experience. Two things that offset each other, so hopefully this ends up just being a sappy read but then you make the cake, and you're happy again.
I've been up, I've been down. I mean, I haven't cried today so I'd say today has been one of the better days. It's officially been a week since I began spotting and figuring out that something wasn't right with my pregnancy. Woah. It already feels like a lifetime ago.
Anyway, last Thursday was a bit scary, but nothing I couldn't handle. I was sure it was completely normal and nothing was actually wrong. As a matter of fact, I called my midwife and they said it was normal but to watch it just in case. For the record, I was in my 9th week of pregnancy.
The next morning, as my husband and I were watching the local water department out our living room window open up a manhole, I felt an unsettling sensation. The spotting had gotten worse and I was bleeding --- every woman knows that feeling of starting your period? Yeah. That was the feeling.
I instantly screeched and started to sob. I knew what was happening. Collin assured me it was probably nothing, something totally normal. I texted one of my sisters to check if it was something she dealt with, maybe it was normal. I got nothing.
I called my midwife, and the receptionist picked up. I told her through tears that I was bleeding pretty bad and I was pretty sure it was all coming to an end. She was calm and told me the midwife would call me back. I calmed myself down and had a really scientific conversation with Collin about the fact that the baby was still so small. It was totally just an embryo basically, so it's no big deal, right? Maybe it's for the best? Or maybe it's nothing and I'm freaking out because duh, pregnancy hormones.
The midwife called me back, and as soon as I answered, she said, "I'm so sorry."
I bawled. We spoke for about ten minutes, and I was doing that really ugly chest-heaving-gasping cry. I was embarrassed I was crying so terribly. She explained that the heavy bleeding sounded like a miscarriage. She told me it's okay to be sad, I was losing my baby. She was very sorry.
I felt all the feelings.
And then she told me maybe it was okay, we could get an ultrasound and an HCG blood test to check. That threw me into the weird four hour limbo of crying uncontrollably, and then feeling as though maybe nothing was changing and I was overreacting. This was actually the worst feeling. We had time to kill before my somewhat emergent appointment, and so we had lunch at Whole Foods. I had been sobbing so much I wasn't hungry, but I figured it was a helpful distraction regardless.
At my appointment, they basically repeated everything on the phone. They were sorrowful for me, but then also hopeful that the ultrasound would show a heartbeat and it was just some weird bleeding that meant nothing. They drew my blood and sent me to get my ultrasound.
We waited about 45 minutes for the ultrasound tech to call my name. Once we got in there, got my womb on the screen, I began to sob. The little blob looked so much bigger to me. The thought that it was no longer growing made me so uncontrollably sad. It was so much worse just seeing it. The tech said nothing at all. Which sucked. If you're out there and you're a friggin ultrasound technician, say SOMETHING if a woman thinks she's having a miscarriage, sobbing with a utensil being shoved around inside her lady bits. I had to ask if there was a heartbeat. No. Sobbing uncontrollably. They told us to take all the time we needed and they left us tissues. I cried and freaked out and then we had to go back to my doctor's office. This was the longest and worst day of my life.
They sat us down and basically just gave us the we're so sorry, we're here for you, how do you feel, it's okay, it's okay to not be okay, you lost your baby, you're mourning, and just all these things. I wasn't ready. A few hours ago, I was still a normal pregnant lady!
That night was awful. The next morning, I felt fine. Totally fine. I wasn't even that upset. I got dressed, did my makeup, sat down to eat lunch, and then boom! The worst pain of my life for about two hours, tons of bleeding, and tons of tears. Poor Collin had to sit with me, because I couldn't leave the toilet. I was embarrassed, grossed out, sad, and just totally mortified. It was way more intense and disturbing than I was prepared for. I took some pain medicine, turned on Princess Diaries, and strapped a heating pad to my pelvis.
Our friends Todd and Laura brought us dinner that night, but I projectile cried all over them and then swore off most visitors. I wasn't ready. I mean, I told the internet, which was different than answering my phone. I still haven't answered my phone.
So, for the past few days, I've just been dealing with my shit. Planning my future. Figuring out how I actually feel about things, including my career. Being someone who has always been a strong believer in a woman's right to choose, it was weird for me to experience such a loss from such an early-stage pregnancy. I know that's kind of a political-ish statement, but it's true. I literally thought it would never bother me.
I know it's different for everyone, so if that's not your personal experience with a miscarriage, then that's totally valid, too -- I'm not discounting your experience. But for us, it wasn't like we lost a baby. That's what everyone kept saying, and they kept telling me it was okay to be sad because we lost our baby, and I guess in a sense, it was true-ish. For me, I lost hours of my life: all of the names, articles, mommy-bloggers, google-searches, superfoods, conversations, excited squealing fits, sleepless nights, night-sweats, weight-gain, boob growth, vitamin searching, doctor searching, etc.
That was devastating. Losing this future version of myself, these vivid memory-like scenarios of a family of three were gone. My baby registry? It's still floating around the internet! These were the things that broke my heart. My future has essentially poof-ed away and I'm dealing with those emotions.
Things aren't the same. They're different. We're different. In a way, I'm relieved to have more time because I'm a planner and I like to be prepared. However, I'm mostly just disappointed.
Before you tell me it's okay to not be okay (which is literally the worst), I feel okay today. And that's okay. Everyone's experience is so individual to them, but it's (unfortunately) a NORMAL FEMALE EXPERIENCE. It shouldn't be taboo. So, if you think I'm oversharing, posting about it for attention, or whatever other bullshit excuse you can come up with for your discomfort surrounding what is or isn't growing in my uterus, you can gtfo of here and unfollow me. I don't see how it's any different than posting a picture of your placenta. This is part of nature, and it can be devastating, but talking to each other can be helpful.
I love you guys. I'm sorry I shoved this all in with a fucking cake recipe, but I made the cake to feel better. And so can you! ;)
Chocolate Chip Chickpea Poke Cake with Salted-Date Caramel
For the cake:
- 1 15oz can chickpeas (rinsed)
- 5 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
- 1/4 cup pea protein powder (or coconut flour)
- 1/2 tp baking soda
- 3 eggs or 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
- dash of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a blender or food processor, combine the drained and rinsed chickpeas and melted coconut oil, blending until smooth.
- In a stand mixer, beat together the three eggs (or pumpkin puree), vanilla extract, and sweetener of your choice.
- Throw the chickpea mixture into the mixer, and the pea protein/coconut flour and turn on medium speed for approximately 3 minutes.
- Fold in 1/2 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 1 cup)
- Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and smooth over the top.
- Bake for approximately 16-20 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean.
- Once out of the oven, poke holes about an inch apart throughout the surface of the cake, and pour the date caramel (recipe below) over the cake.
- Allow to cool completely! Like an hour. Then cut into about 10 pieces and enjoy :)
INGREDIENTS FOR DATE CARAMEL
- 8 medjool dates
- 1 tsp sea salt
- enough boiling water to cover the dates
- Pit all of the dates and place them in a small bowl.
- Cover dates with enough boiled water to just cover them.
- Allow to soak for around 45 minutes.
- Drain off 75% of the water.
- Through the dates, water, and sea salt in the food processor and blend until creamy.
- Pour right over the cake, smearing it into those holes! Cover the cake with the excess caramel.
- Allow cake to cool completely and enjoy!
Nutrition info for approximately 1/10 of the cake with caramel: Calories: 239 | Fat: 12.6g | Carbs: 26.4g | Fiber: 4g | Sugars: 17g | Protein 7.3g