"Waking up from surgery, I looked over at my husband, Matt, holding my hand. “You’re all done,” he said. But his face was twisted. “Do you remember what you said right after surgery, while the anesthetic was wearing off?” he asked.
No. I couldn’t.
“You were hugging your stomach, apologizing to the baby for not being able to let it live, saying that it’s with Jesus now and you’re sorry, you’re so sorry.”
I started crying for the hundredth time. The nurses were teary-eyed. “This is the part of my job I don‘t like,” I heard one say. “I can’t let you go through this again,” Matt said.
We went home. It was March 4, 2013, 363 days after my first miscarriage and DNC. That week, I quit my job. I stopped sleeping. I started running high miles and didn’t have much of an appetite. I appeared to be fit and trim and healthy. I cried for hours every day and felt like a shell of a human. I tried crying myself to sleep and instead just cried.
I have never felt so sad and lonely and disconnected.
Guilt consumed me. Why be so miserable if other women are losing their babies full-term? Get a grip, I told myself. I could barely pay quality attention to the daughter we did have.
Guilt, guilt, guilt.
And then I went to baby showers. Crying and then apologizing became my thing. I became angry, jealous and cold. It didn’t matter what road the mom took to have that baby, I wanted the same thing at the same time. “But good thing you already have a daughter” I was told. But dangit, I want the two that I lost.
I then became angry, mostly at myself. How could I have let this happen? I was healthy pre-loss, had a full-term healthy first baby, so what was wrong with my organs? “At least it wasn’t a baby,” I was told. But in only four or five more months, those babies would have been full-term.
Trying to find a solution, I became my own advocate. I went to a specialist, had nine vials of blood drawn, gave my life history. Nothing was found. Nothing? “You’re free to try again when you feel ready,” I was told. In my mind, moving from that day to another pregnancy felt like it would never happen because I wouldn’t let it. Matt was ready to be content with one child, as was I.
Anxiety became me.
One day, I held Matt’s hand to my speeding heart and told him, “Feel that? That’s anxiety.” He’s often asked me to describe my anxiety.
The feeling one has while sliding on ice while driving. Worrying about what horrible situation might happen (though it usually doesn’t), thoughts that keep me from functioning and holding a normal conversation. I remember talking to people, anyone, and all I could think was, “you know what? I just lost a baby” nod, nod, nod. In that sense, I was very selfish in my misery.
And then, in the next year, my body and mind began to heal. I was able to enjoy food again, read for pleasure, laugh, sleep (sometimes), worry less about tomorrow, pray knowing God was listening, go to baby showers and be legitimately happy, hold conversations and be engaged.
And in November of 2013, I became pregnant again. My fourth and most mentally challenging pregnancy. With each ultrasound, I gained more confidence that this one was going to make it.
It does not matter how small the baby is when a mom loses a child; the size of an olive or a kumquat or jackfruit; it is still a significant loss and that mom (and dad) will differently work through the stages of grief. The process that precedes and follows each pregnancy is part of the journey that makes us raw.
I am not the same person I was before I lost a baby; I know more and am probably more easily hurt. I am more sensitive to a couple’s birth story. I recognize that feelings of what might have been are a normal part of the healing process.
“I would have a kindergartner today” or, “I was supposed to have a baby the same time as her” are landmarks.
When one loses a baby, he or she loses the future landmarks.
To the parents who have lost a full-term baby, I am so sorry. Tiny lives matter.
And so, The Mother’s Nest is taking a day to express condolences and to remember the little ones lost because it is No Small Loss that you have endured. "
Join us on October 15, Infant Loss Remembrance Day
Firestone Metro Parks
2620 Harrington Road
Akron, OH, 44319