Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dealing with the grief...one day at a time


I’m having anxiety over my doctor’s appointment tomorrow.  In some ways I know it’s going to be a relief to talk to him, at least maybe get some information, such as when I might expect my next period, how long we should wait before trying to get pregnant, that sort of thing.  But I think I feel nervous because I’ll have to talk about ‘it’ – and even though most days it’s all I do anyway (to James, my mom, here on my blog, miscarriage forums…) I just feel anxious about having to start from the beginning with someone again.  Even if it IS my doctor.  Who, thankfully, I really like a lot and so far have a lot of respect for, and hope SO BADLY that he is kind to me tomorrow – because I don’t think I can handle it if I feel mistreated by another health professional at the moment.  In particular my own doctor! 

I find it difficult in some ways because I’m the type of person who generally doesn’t show it if I’m feeling emotional, I’m pretty good at remaining ‘level’, especially in public.  I don’t feel that strong right now though.  And I know it’s OK if I cry in front of my doctor, I just find it all so…uncomfortable.  Out of my usual realm.  I feel so vulnerable and I hate it.

A few days after my miscarriage, I started doing some research on the topic, and found myself looking up pictures of miscarried babies and abnormal ultrasound photographs.  Morbid, much?  I know it sounds truly awful to purposely look up such images, but try to see if from my point of view.  In an act of desperation, I wanted to see if I could find a baby that looked like mine.  Or to see that other babies had been miscarried in the same manner.  I have learned a lot in the past almost-2-weeks, and I now realize (however hard it is to accept) that miscarriages do indeed happen at ALL stages of pregnancy.  I kept thinking it’s too bizarre that my baby ‘looked’ perfect, it just didn’t make sense to me that there could have been something so wrong as to cause my baby to die, my body to reject it, when it ‘looked’ fine.  I know I only saw my baby for a matter of seconds, but I have a fairly clear image in my mind of what he or she looked like, and I am positive everything ‘appeared’ as it should in a healthy fetus.  Obviously mine was not healthy, since it was no longer living at that point.  But…I needed reassurance or something, I don’t know…I needed to try to find an image of my baby, though I still don’t know why.  My heart goes out to every baby that didn’t make it, but I became somewhat immune to the images I saw, because none of those babies were ‘mine.’  I have come to realize that even though I essentially was robbed of having any time with my baby, no other baby could ever replace him or her for me.  My Momma’s Instinct was very much present the whole time I went through my pregnancy, my miscarriage, and even now. 

I am not going to post any pictures that might scare anyone, but I am going to post a few computer generated images of an 11 week fetus, as well as one from a Life magazine – which is farther along in gestation, but shows the baby in a gestational sac (although I found my baby’s gestational sac was more red than clear, though it was transparent red.  I wonder if that’s because it was out of my body, whereas I believe the one from Life was still in the womb…

This first image shows the baby in close to the same positioning as I saw mine when it was out of my body, so I found this picture somehow 'comforting' for lack of a better term (I really don't think 'comforting' is the right term...)
This was about how developed my baby looked.  Which is interesting that it says '11 weeks' because any other image I found at 11 weeks looked far less developed than this.  I don't think it's possible that my baby was any less than 11 weeks, and I actually think he or she was further along than that by maybe a week or so.  No proof, just an inkling.
 The baby in the next image is further along, I think around 15-16 weeks, so my baby was smaller in relation to the gestational sac - the sac seemed slightly 'roomier'...and like I said, the sac was more of a transparent RED than clear...The part outside the sac is the placenta (weird since I saw my placenta when it came out after Andrew was born and it looked NOTHING like this...but maybe this is less developed?  I did have some visible pieces come out of me that looked like the edges of the placenta in this image.  Sorry for tmi, but it is what it is. Interestingly, this fetus is looking in the same direction as what my baby was when I saw it, although my baby was upside down in comparison to this picture.  But looking a bit toward the right.  Just an observation on my part, documenting the memory of how I saw my baby.
 I feel the need to put these images out there not to freak people out, but to humanize my baby more.  I feel like people think ‘miscarriage’ but they don’t REALLY consider what it actually means.  I actually don’t like the term miscarriage at all.  No, it obviously wasn’t properly-carried, or whatever the opposite term would be, but…I feel like ‘miscarriage’ doesn’t do justice to the fact that in the process of ‘miscarrying’ an actual baby was birthed.  I know you have to be much farther along than 11 weeks for a miscarriage to be called a stillbirth, and I do get why in the sense that obviously it would be MUCH more traumatizing (which freaks me out, given how traumatized I am) if the baby was further gestated.  But I honestly think people who I haven’t told outright my ‘story’ to don’t actually ‘get’ that I laboured and gave birth to my baby.  Just because something is small (I would say it was about 3 inches long, which actually makes me believe I was further along than 11 weeks, because I have not found a single ’11 week’ image that is as developed as my baby was, whereas 12-13 weeks seemed more accurate…But that’s just one more question I will never have answered, since we never did make it to our find-out-the-due-date ultrasound).  I just wish people in general could better understand what a woman goes through during a miscarriage, and why it can be so traumatizing.

But anyway…The negative aspect to all of this aside, I’ve been trying really hard to see something positive in it.  I will never understand WHY this baby could not survive, and I will never ‘get over’ this baby.  But I was thinking about my hope to get pregnant again and to have my next baby thrive just like Andrew did, and has (and WILL).  And I realized that if we do have another healthy baby, I will have to be ‘grateful’ (in whatever way possible) that this happened to me – because if this hadn’t happened to me, I would never go on to have the next baby.  And of course I will adore my next baby…So…Does this all make sense?  That ultimately in order to have my next baby, I unfortunately had to lose this one…So maybe somehow, somewhere, I’ll be able to come up with the ‘reason’ I seem to need for why this had to happen.  It’s too early yet for me to have that figured out, and I’m also doing my best to come to terms with the fact that there’s a very good chance I will never figure it out, even if we do end up having another healthy baby (please, please, let us have one more healthy baby – that is all I want in this world!)  But I’m working on trying to coming to terms with this, and that little realization seemed like a starting point for me, something to try to focus on.

I hope my doctor can help me in some way, although I also know that he can’t do or say anything that will change what happened, and I have to remind myself that while he’s there for me in a sense, and will (hopefully) do what he can to calm my fears, I just have to work through this – somehow – on my own.


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