Thursday, November 7, 2013

On Loss and Healing

I really feel like it's crazy that I am writing this and sharing it on this blog. I especially feel crazy because it was just last week that we shared our exciting news that we were expecting. It is almost 1:00 in the morning and I just need to get this out because I feel like I might explode. So please bear with me.

The Friday after I shared our happy news, I found out that our baby was no longer alive.

What was supposed to be a normal, routine ultrasound turned into what is easily one of the darkest days of my life.

The ultrasound tech's delivery of the news, my denial laying there but seeing my baby on the screen yet still knowing that there was something wrong. It was shattering.

But I knew. I knew the moment he pulled up the image of my baby that something wasn't right. No movement, no heartbeat--just stillness. The tech was quiet, I was quiet. I'm sure you could hear my heart hammering at my chest in panic. There was our baby, but our baby was gone.

For us, it was extra painful because so many people already knew. I was past the "safe zone," where I felt comfortable sharing our news on Facebook and here on the blog. Now we had to somehow find a way to "un-tell" people. To live it again and again, with each time we had to break the news. Who wants to do that? How do you find the words for that? Over and over?

"We were having a baby, but now we're not." Um, what? In my head, these were the words I heard over and over and over even though that's not necessarily what we were saying. Ripping off the band-aid and opening up the wound, over and over.

I posted our announcement on Facebook shortly before I posted it to the blog. Denny pleaded with me to delete it all last weekend, but I couldn't. I guess I was still in shock and denial. I know I couldn't just delete the photo and delete the fact that it ever happened. No, enough people knew that I knew I had to acknowledge this. Somehow.

And then there was the guilt. We are crushed, sure. But I found myself playing the "Pain Olympics," just in reverse. This was an early second trimester loss. Our first loss. There are women out there who have had later losses. Multiple losses. Stillbirths. We are already blessed with a happy, healthy little girl. There are families out there grieving for babies they want so desperately but still haven't had.

How am I supposed to feel this grief-stricken when so many others have it worse? I was literally paralyzed with sadness all weekend. For a baby we had seen once on an ultrasound two weeks previous.

Our little nugget, with a fast and strong heartbeat. I had just started feeling small little tickles inside of me. Our bean making itself known. And just like that, she was no longer there. A missed miscarriage. Adding insult to injury, because I still felt pregnant; my body was still producing hormones. But my body wasn't letting go.

The truth is, friends, that I quit playing that game after a few days because I realized that every loss, no matter how many, how early or late, is still a loss and is still devastating.

From there, I moved from my grief comparisons to beating myself up on the (to me) obvious shortcomings of my body. With Peyton, I struggled with Pregnancy Induced Hypertension, which eventually progressed to Pre-E and then went through a failed induction during which my body failed to progress and required an emergency c-section. I lived with feelings of shame and inadequacy for months after Peyton was born. I was so thrilled and grateful my daughter was here and she was okay, but I was ashamed that my body had failed me in something women are biologically meant to do and have been doing since, well, forever. It took me a while, but I have since then left those feelings by the wayside and embraced the fact that I am a mother regardless of how my baby comes into the world. But now these feelings have been resurrected in the most painful way.

Here I was, walking around for two weeks with my baby having passed away inside of me, and my body didn't give me any signs. Not a cramp, no bleeding, nothing. I felt perfectly pregnant, as I reminded the ultrasound tech in the room when he asked if I had been feeling okay. I was fine! If anything, I was feeling slightly better because I was into my second trimester and that's what's supposed to happen!

Again, my body has failed me. As a woman, I feel inadequate beyond measure. I couldn't successfully deliver my daughter without serious intervention, and now I would require intervention to miscarry my next baby. This, to me, is crushing.

I had my scheduled D&E this afternoon. I cried the entire time I sat in pre-op. I don't think the nurses knew what to do with me, except remind me to tell the anesthesiologist that I needed something for my anxiety. Which I never got, because I needed to be present for this. No clouded presence. I wanted to be fully there, all day, until I was put under for the procedure that would finally and officially take my baby from me. To think of and honor the baby we loved the second we knew existed, but will never get to meet. I needed to do this.

Once the surgery was done, I felt strangely at ease. Now it's over and we can continue the healing process in our own way.

Today, I acknowledged via Facebook that we had lost our baby. I know some people have differing opinions on this, and I had a sick feeling and a lump in my throat as I wrote the post, but people needed to know. I couldn't have my due date roll around and have questions pop up about when the baby was coming. There is now no baby coming, and I needed to clear the air to save myself from any future misery. To avoid having to rip open that wound over and over and over again in a few months.

The doctor gave us the OK to start trying again in a few months, but I can't say for sure if we'll be trying for another baby. After my difficult pregnancy, labor, and delivery with Peyton and now this loss, I am overwhelmed with panic over becoming pregnant again. Denny doesn't want to be an "old dad" (he is six years older than I am), and while I disagree with what his definition of an "old dad" is, I still feel like I need to respect his feelings, too. Regardless, we both agreed we would not make any decisions until after the 1st of the year. We both need to give ourselves the time to grieve and heal properly.

Peyton still talks about her "baby brudder" (even though I think it was another girl), and I don't have the heart or the strength to tell her that there will be no baby brother. Part of me thinks that if we stop talking about the baby in front of her that she will eventually forget, but do I want her to forget? Obviously talking about pregnancy loss to a two and a half year old is pretty heavy, but I feel this fired-up need to honor the memory of this baby.

I may talk to her in a few years about it, but I know in my heart I will think of this baby every day for the rest of my life.

And I will hug Peyton extra hard because we are blessed undoubtedly by her very existence in our lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love hearing from anyone who reads this little section of the internet universe. Feel free to leave a comment and let's chat!