The one where I break down the barriers.
June 15th, 2012
I started seeing a Therapist nearly 3 weeks ago. It is hard. Like really, really hard. We’ve had 3 appointments together and I’ve made her cry a handful of times. She’s motherly and sympathetic. My assignment for last week was to write about the miscarriage. I could write anything at all, she said. That sounded easy enough. My appointment was on a Tuesday and left the assignment until right before bed on Monday night.
She then had me read it, which sounded more like a blubbery mess than something well-thought out and of some intelligence, and I’m not sure she caught most of it, unless she speaks Blubbery Messese. Which I think she does because she had a lot to say after I read it. Something about how society does not view miscarriages as a real form of a loss. There are no tombstones, no ceremony, and unless someone has gone through one they won’t understand–it’s not like a normal loss of a loved one. That rang true.
This what I wrote:
On March 8, 2012 our midwife told us that we should definitely see a heartbeat by next week’s appointment. I knew that if there was no heartbeat then we would be getting bad news. I scoured the internet for success stories. I found loads of women who didn’t see a heartbeat at (sometimes) 12 weeks. My hope was that I was the exception, like them.
On March 15 we went into our appointment. Instead of watching the screen I focused on the midwife’s face and read her reaction. There was none… and then I saw a bit of disappointment. I looked at the screen and there was no blipping. No heartbeat. We left the office and I waited until we got in the elevator and cried.
I wrote this the day after it happened:
This is the first time I’ve opened up my computer in days.
Last Thursday I went to my midwife. This was the third visit in 4 weeks. I was 6 weeks and 1 day pregnant. She told me I had an enlarged yolk sac. She told me she didn’t see a heartbeat, even though we saw it a week before. She told me she was not optimistic about the pregnancy, that an enlarged yolk sac was a sign of a chromosomal abnormality. She told me what to expect when I miscarried. This was on Thursday. On Friday I cried. And it took me the rest of the weekend to become hopeful again. I hoped that I had a little fighter, that maybe she was wrong and I was the exception. On Tuesday it started and I didn’t have to wait or second-guess anymore. But I was crushed.
I’ll spare you the gory details.
It was a slow process for me. On Wednesday we cancelled my appointment for the next day, there was no need to see the midwife again. It was just a matter of waiting now. On Wednesday I told some friends and family what was happening. I hadn’t told anyone I was pregnant yet because I was hoping for a good solid heartbeat before announcing the pregnancy, I was hoping for that heartbeat after our next appointment. By Thursday family and friends were in the know and I had accepted what was happening.
At 2:30 am on Friday I began to go into “labor”. I was having some serious Braxton Hicks contractions all night long. At 6:45 am they were 2 minutes long and 30 seconds apart and they were no longer Braxton Hicks, they were the real deal at that point. I had two cups of Raspberry Leaf Tea because I wanted to move things along, I was tired of waiting. They got seriously intense, like the last stage of labor, from then until about lunch time. And then it all stopped.
At around 2:30 pm the most painful cramps I had ever felt started suddenly for about 45 minutes. Until everything was passed.
****Warning: A few gross details passed this point****
I expected the horrible cramping. I didn’t expect to labor in addition to that. I expected to see lots of blood. I didn’t expect it to be one of the most traumatizing experiences of my life. I didn’t expect for it to last for four days. I didn’t expect to, literally, feel empty inside once it passed. I now know what pregnancy looks like, I held it in my hands. I know what’s inside that cute belly. I didn’t expect nightmares about life-sized figurines made of babies and children made into “art” to haunt me at night. I thought that once it was over, it was over. And I was wrong. I’m still cramping and bleeding and passing balls of tissue. The world is much too vibrant for me today. And I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to eat beef again. And now you probably can’t either.
I thought the hard part was over. Receiving the news has hard. Waiting for a miscarriage to happen was hard. Telling people was hard. The miscarriage was hard. And my sister-in-law was being intubated in ICU while it was happening. That is hard.
It’s been an awful week.
I’m not ready to think about “the next time”. I’m not ready to take in “what wasn’t meant to be”. And please don’t remind me of the “healthy, smart, beautiful son” I do have. Some things I’m just too sensitive about right now. And I hope you understand. I haven’t gotten back to some of you, and I hope you understand.
I know a miscarriage isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a human. But this is one of the worst things that has happened to me.
I’m taking it hour by hour, because taking it day by day is much too overwhelming. Rustin and I are dealing with our loss the best way we can.
It’s not easy no matter how early in the pregnancy it is. We were a family of 4 from the moment I saw that little pink line. We started saving for a new car. We got Life Insurance. We got better health coverage. We planned for the rest of our lives to be a family of 4 from the very beginning. Now we just have better health insurance. The hardest thing is trying to explain that to someone who has never lost a child. They begin to rationalize how a miscarriage is “easy” compared to what “might’ve been” to make you feel better, themselves feel better. To belittle what you went through because someone else they knew had a __________.
In my mind, I’m still a mother of two. We are parents of two. I just didn’t get to meet #2… well, not in the way a mother should meet her baby. I still imagine our vacations for four. I still picture our future for four. Two kids running around in the backyard. Two kids fighting over the Wii. Two car seats in the backseat. A bunkbed. Two bats, two soccer balls lying around our lawn. I’m not so sure that will ever change for me.
How do you even begin to explain this someone who doesn’t want to try to understand anyway. It’s over. That was nearly 3 months ago. She’s found peace.
The reality is that I have not found peace. I have found a way to distract myself, to give me a few consecutive days without thinking about it. I have found a way to not think about the events of that day, specifically. I have found a way to bottle up my emotions until I no longer can. I have learned to lie. I have learned how to avoid friends. I have learned how to keep it to myself. I have learned not to bother anybody. I have learned to step aside because others are grieving their own losses. I have learned that my own loss is less important. Those are terrible things to learn.
After an experience like that no one is the same. It’s like a bad car crash, there’s the before you and the after you. I’m still learning about the new me. The “after” me. I’m floating. I’m neither in the middle of it, nor over it — I’m in limbo. Where once it was unbearable pain, uncontrollable sobbing, spontaneous bursts of emotion, now it’s just bearable sadness, controllable crying, quiet and solo displays of emotion. It’s bearable. The days are bearable. I can plan for a week, two weeks at a time even. That’s as far as the future is for me right now. Better than by the minute or the hour, as it once used to be.
I have not found peace. I have found a pause button.
My next assignment is to write a letter to the baby. To write about “your hopes and dreams for him, how much you loved him, and say to him anything you need to say to express your great loss when he had to leave. Please bring some articles that remind you of him.” I mean, how? How do I put all of this into words? It is now Friday and I have 3 more days to write this.
I imagine Monday night to be another long night.