Saturday, October 15, 2011

Another stage of grief, perhaps?


Today I don’t even really know what to say, think, or feel.  I’m almost numb, but not really.  I tried having a little conversation with my baby (hoping in some way the sentiment of me loving and missing them might get through) and that made me cry.  Otherwise I haven’t been crying so much today.  I still feel unbelievably sad, but I am also feeling this bitterness creeping in.  I do not for a second understand the world, and you know how people sometimes say that ‘death is also beautiful’ as well as being horrible?  No one has said that to me in this instance – and good thing, ‘cause I might be liable to rip their head off and show them how ‘beautiful’ death is…not really, I’m just saying that for effect - I was just thinking how people try to justify death as not being such a bad thing, but I have to beg to differ.  There is nothing beautiful about a baby dying before it even had a chance to properly live.

I am in a bit of a state today where I feel like I’m not me, I’m someone else looking in on my life.  This can’t be my life, right?  I just never saw myself going down this particular road.

I’ve sort of been beside myself all day.  I feel antsy, tired, I don’t quite know what to do with myself.  I don’t want to see ANYONE.  I can’t leave the house.  We’re getting fire wood tomorrow so we had to go down to our storage locker to clear out a big space for it, and I felt so much anxiety just going from our door to storage and back, because I was so fearful of seeing someone.  Even if it was a perfect stranger, I just don’t want to see any people. 

I am feeling awkward in my body right now.  Most of my pregnancy belly is gone, but it’s still not quite the ‘same’ as what it was pre-pregnancy.  Maybe it’s just taking time and will go back to normal, or maybe this is my new ‘normal’.  I don’t know, but it’s upsetting me that it might be possible people would still think I’m pregnant, but I’m not.  I only have one relatively loose fitting t-shirt and I feel like a slob wearing it, but I don’t want to wear anything that hugs my skin.

I’ve pretty much always had issues with my body, even though when I look back at pictures of myself as a kid and 20 something, I think OMG I was so thin back then!  Of course, after having Andrew my body was never quite the ‘same’ again but even though I would sometimes wish I maybe weighed 20 pounds less or so, I to some degree embraced my body.  Do you know what made me embrace it?  I thought, well I might weigh a few more pounds than I ‘need’ to, but my body is awesome at making babies, so I should just enjoy my body for what it is, and be proud of what it can do.  So, yeah, not too sure what I’m supposed to do about my body issues now, because clearly having one perfect child does NOT mean my body is a baby making machine!

I feel kind of sick about the whole thing.  Not my body, I’m not beating myself up that badly (!) – I mean about the miscarriage. 

Those of you who are on my Facebook will know that I posted a Note about my experience.  Yes, that’s right, I publicly (well, for my Friends list) posted a Note about my miscarriage.  Rather than explain it in other words, here is what I wrote.  I will leave my blog post on that note…

On October 11, 2011, I suffered a miscarriage at 11 weeks pregnant.

There, I said it.

Miscarriages, as I am finding out, are all too common, yet so few people seem to talk about it.  Lots of women wait till the end of their first trimester to start telling people they’re pregnant for that reason – if they miscarry, they don’t want people to know.

Before this happened to me, I thought that if it ever did, I wouldn’t want people to know because I wouldn’t want that particular event to define me.  I didn’t want people to think, Elizabeth?  Oh yeah, she had a miscarriage.  But you know what?  While certainly it is not the only thing that defines me by any means, I am realizing now that it’s not something I want to hide.  It’s not something I can hide, because it feels like a very big part of who I am now.  I know in large part that’s because it just happened, it’s fresh and VERY difficult because I’m supposed to be pregnant right now, yet I’m not.  I know in time that pain will ease, but I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I will ever ‘get over’ my baby dying. 

I never in a million years thought this would happen to me.  My pregnancy with Andrew was textbook, everything went perfectly and he was born healthy and has been thriving since day one.  So I just took that for granted, I guess, and figured my next pregnancy would be the same.  How very wrong I was.

I started spotting a few weeks ago, and even though I was reassured that this was ‘normal’ and ‘nothing to worry about’, in the back of my mind I was definitely concerned.  This hadn’t happened in my first pregnancy, and I know each one is different, but I didn’t think bleeding should be considered ‘normal’.  Not for me.  Still, I went on believing that it would eventually stop, and my baby would grow to be healthy and strong.  Instead, on Thanksgiving Day I started bleeding much heavier, and the following afternoon I laboured for approximately 3 hours and birthed a teensy, tiny, 11 week along baby.

Maybe if I hadn’t seen the fetus, (I hate calling my baby that) I wouldn’t be as traumatized, or as focused on wanting to give my child an identity, even though I never got the chance to actually know them.  Or, maybe I would feel exactly as I do now.  I don’t know.  All I know is that I saw what appeared to be a perfectly formed miniature human being.  Unfortunately, I had only a moment to capture an image in my mind of my dead baby before it was taken away from me forever.  I will never know if it was a son or a daughter, I will never be able to give it a name, I will never know who he or she was, or would have become.

I am heart broken, to say the least.  I feel alone, isolated, scared, confused, and depressed.  I long to hold my baby, to keep my baby safe, to have them back inside me ALIVE.  I feel the truest sense of emptiness that a person could possibly feel. 

I started to show almost the minute I conceived this child, and I have pictures to prove that at 9 weeks along, I looked more like 16 weeks.  Now, just 2 weeks later, my belly is almost back to normal.  Yet not quite, and it’s painful to see that my body has been altered, but I don’t have my baby. 

I had such high hopes.  Andrew was going to be a big brother early next year, and while he was still taking his time getting used to the idea, I know he would have loved having a little brother or sister.  When we told him that the baby had to go away, he was sad, and it broke my heart to know that what could have been such a wonderful part of all our lives has been taken away.  Yes, we can try for another baby in the future, but it won’t be that baby.  It won’t be born in the late spring/early summer, which I so had my heart set on.  The age gap between Andrew and his sibling will be much greater, which disappoints me.  I find it so hard to believe, and so painful to know, that the way I had everything all planned out for our future is not going to work out as I had hoped.

And what if this happens to me again?  Did you know that 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage?  I keep asking myself why I had to be that unfortunate 1.  What went wrong?  How did my baby get to 11 weeks, just one week away from a dramatic decrease in the likelihood of things going wrong, and then died, just like that?  Was it something I did?  And if not, then what?  I did everything right as far as I know.  I know these things ‘just happen’ but I guess I just didn’t expect it to ever happen to me.

I feel so lost.  And I worry that people are going to forget about my second baby, as if they never existed at all, and that hurts so much.  I already feel that I have had 2 children, and if I am lucky enough to have another baby in the future, I will think of myself as having had 3 kids.  Not that I will obsess over this baby that didn’t make it, I just mean that having had this baby is a part of my existence.  They are a part of my heart and soul and always will be.  I don’t want to act as though this never happened to me, because it’s a very raw and very real part of who I am now.  And I never, ever want their short little existence, even if it was ‘only’ in the womb, to be forgotten.

I’m so sorry to anyone else who has been through this.  While I keep trying to write it all down, talk about it, process what happened, there is no easy way to deal with the loss I feel.  I wouldn’t wish this pain upon my worst enemy (if I had one).

I will never understand why this had to happen to me, why my baby could not survive.  But I will always love my little baby, and remember the 11 weeks of love and hope that I had for them.  I will always remember that image of their little body, the little person that stopped being able to grow.  It doesn’t matter that I was ‘only’ 11 weeks along in my pregnancy when I lost my baby.  He or she was VERY real, and VERY much a part of me. Please never underestimate the strength of a bond between a mother and her child, even if that child is still on the inside.  I loved my baby from the moment I found out I was pregnant, and I will never stop.

My first ultrasound to find out the baby’s due date was scheduled for yesterday.  Unfortunately we never made it to that appointment.  My ‘plan’ had been that after the ultrasound, I would post my little baby’s picture and my status would be, ‘Looks like Andrew’s going to be a big brother after all!’  It upsets me so much that instead you are reading this note.

I’m not asking for sympathy in writing this.  I am just finding myself compelled to raise some awareness, because too much about miscarriage seems hidden.  I don’t think it’s something we should pretend doesn’t exist, especially given how often it (sadly) happens.

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