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Category: Emotions (Page 2 of 6)

Miscarriage Series – Don’t Think We Didn’t Notice

Left Out2After a pregnancy loss, it’s almost impossible to ignore the pregnancy announcements. We usually have many pregnant friends or friends having babies and we see their birth announcements, first smile, videos of when they first roll over, etc.

Many of us who love hearing about their pregnancies despite how hard it might be. I remember this being hard after I lost Ruby too and I remember a huge sense of jealousy. I also remember wishing pregnant women would lose their babies. After we lost Gus in May, I have been surprised how quickly I have “recovered” and how little I experience these thoughts.

Maybe it’s my line of work and how much pain I have witnessed? Maybe it’s the fact that I know so many women who are carrying their rainbow baby? It doesn’t really matter, I am just glad I am not having those harsh thoughts this time.

But here it is, a common complaint among the newly bereaved and no, not everyone will feel this way but you (our friends, family, etc) will never know unless you ask. Don’t make us feel like the uninvited.

It wasn’t long after Gus passed that I too, became one of the “uninvited.” Uninvited to gender reveal parties and baby showers. Uninvited to anything that revolves around a baby and one that particularly hurt, blocked from seeing certain posts related to their baby.

So here goes. For all of you who think you are protecting us by not inviting us and blocking us from seeing updates about your babies, it actually hurts more. We aren’t sure if you are doing this to save us from some hurt or if we represent everything you are scared of but you are taking away our choice.

We can choose what we want to see and if we want to go but we need to be given the choice. We might actually feel like attending your baby shower. We might actually feel like attending your birth or visiting you in the hospital after bub is born. So please don’t take that choice away from us because you think it will be too painful.

It absolutely hurts that my baby died. We are sad for that death experience and miss feeling and seeing all that you are experiencing but we are also sad because we are being left out. We care deeply about you and want to share your pregnancy and baby with you. We might not be ready but you need to ask. Seriously.

I had a few friends contact me privately to tell me they were pregnant before they announced it to the world. I was very appreciative that they were thinking of me. They didn’t really have to do that but it was most appreciated. It helps because it’s as if she is thinking of me and how I might feel and because of that, my loss feels validated. So help validate and don’t segregate us because you are scared.

While we can’t jump for joy and excitement over your news, we are happy for you and will extend our congratulations to you. If we aren’t ready, we will let you know.

Sincerely,

The Newly Bereaved

Miscarriage Series – Final Thoughts

Looking back, I wonder if this pregnancy was doomed from the beginning. Nearly every step of the way there was an obstacle. I learned I was pregnant on a Friday morning. I was only about 10 or 11 days past ovulation but I was excited to test. I didn’t feel pregnant at all but who “feels” pregnant this early anyway.Day 1 - miscarriage

Everything seemed to be going very well early on, with this pregnancy. My body seemed to be working like any normal, fertile woman’s body would. I was so happy to see the HCG levels doubling and my progesterone level naturally normal. I thanked God that it seemed I didn’t need progesterone supplementation this time.

Friday we found out we were pregnant. We told only close family and a few of my close friends but reserved the announcement to the world for months later. After all, I was technically only three and a half weeks pregnant. That’s super early. I hadn’t even missed my period yet and things can go very wrong at that early stage.

By Wednesday though, I was in the hospital. I had an intense pain which I thought was in my uterus. Timmy and I had been playing at the park on Mainstreet that morning. I was sitting on the curb watching him go down the slide over and over when I felt a pain in my uterus. I thought it was just because my legs were all bunched up and squeezing that area so I just moved my legs and felt a bit of relief.

I was excited, thinking that this was my uterus starting to grow in the earliest stages. The pain seemed to get a bit more intense though, so I stood up. I felt nauseated at that point and began to think about leaving. We really hadn’t been there that long and I wanted Timmy to have more time there.

I thought maybe I was hungry so I took Timmy with my back to the car and ate a fruit bar. We returned to the slide but I didn’t feel right at all. The pain was becoming intense enough that I wanted to lie down. I told myself to wait five minutes to give the food some time to digest and hoped that would help me feel better.

Within three minutes, my body was telling me we needed to leave. Timmy didn’t want to listen and I had to drag him out of there kicking and screaming. I felt so bad for him. He was having so much fun.

I got him in the car and started to drive away. The pain was really low, just above my pubic bone and it had become very intense. It felt like my uterus was in a tight contraction and wouldn’t let up.

I began to get concerned that I might have an ectopic pregnancy. At the next stop light, I googled “early ectopic pregnancy.” I needed to know if this was something that could happen at only four weeks. I didn’t think I would be in this kind of pain that early.

I couldn’t find anything and I was driving. I just wanted to make it home. Home was only ten minutes from here. I drove as fast as I could but just three miles from home, I felt like something bad was about to happen. I needed medical attention. This pain was too intense and lying down at home alone, with a toddler would not be safe, especially if I was bleeding internally due to a ruptured fallopian tube.

I turned the car around and called the clinic. I was quickly in touch with a nurse and explained everything. She kept telling me to stop the car and she would call an ambulance. There was no way I was going to do that. I was only ten to fifteen minutes from the nearest Kaiser hospital. I was driving fast and was still conscious.

The nurse kept me on the line and had me tell her where I was every few minutes. She did not get off the phone with me until she heard me talking to the emergency room clerks. Another nurse had contacted my husband while I was driving and told me that he would meet me there.

I got checked in. The pain was so intense I just wanted to lay down in the fetal position and rock. I wanted pain medication so badly but I knew how dangerous that could be for the development of this baby at this stage. This is the most important time in a baby’s development and I needed to be very careful.

I denied pain medication for hours. After ultrasounds, blood work, diagnostic tests, and doctors telling me they wanted to cut me open and explore, one doctor suggested a medication that numbs the bladder. If that stopped my pain, it was my bladder and no surgery would be needed.

Forty-five minutes after receiving the medication, I was in significantly less pain. My whole stomach hurt though and did for many days but it was manageable. The emergency room however, did not want to send me home until my pain level was under a three.

A lab result revealed I had many white blood cells in my bladder and indicated an infection. I was placed on antibiotics. After nine hours in the emergency room and no end in sight, I opted for some pain medication so we could go home. Thirty minutes later, I was discharged.

The next week, a progesterone test revealed my level had dropped to an unsafe level for the baby. I struggled to get progesterone supplementation. You can read about that struggle here.

I couldn’t believe I was struggling again to receive supplementation, especially with my history of needing it for each pregnancy. The odd thing was, I had no OB and no history with any OB provider so it compounded this mess.

UltrasoundWe saw the baby that week for the first time. Baby was growing well and had a heart rate of 122bpm. Baby measured perfectly and on the exact date of 6 weeks 3 days. I was a little concerned about the heart rate but it was in the normal range for that gestation. Timmy’s heart rate was in the 180’s at that gestation.

Just a few weeks later, I twisted my ankle horribly in the front yard. I fell and was incapacitated for thirty minutes on the sidewalk. I managed to pull myself up the driveway and into the garage where I hung out with Timmy for a while. I was able to walk later that day but it was horrible.

I had an appointment that day as well. I limped in. I was anxious but as soon as our midwife put in the ultrasound transducer, all my anxiety was relieved. The baby was still there and had a heart rate of 133bpm. That was great progress. However, the baby measured at 6 weeks 5 days. I knew there was a margin of error but I was concerned. I was supposed to be 7 weeks 3 days. The baby was measuring four days behind.

Our midwife was not concerned though and explained there was a margin of error. She adjusted my due date to December 11, 2015. I didn’t like any of this and was concerned but figured we would have our due date readjusted at the next ultrasound.

Our next appointment was supposed to be with the OB because our midwife would be retiring but I decided I wanted to see her one more time before being released to the OB. I wasn’t comfortable with the growth so we scheduled an appointment for two weeks later. I would be 9 weeks 4 days. I couldn’t wait for the appointment.

The next week, my foot wasn’t any better so I returned to the clinic. There was nothing they could do since I was pregnant. So they wrapped my foot and sent me home. The following week, we would learn of our baby’s demise.

By the end of the week, I noticed that my milk supply had increased. Before I became pregnant, I was pumping 11oz per pump session regularly. As soon as I became pregnant, my milk supply dropped to 7oz per pump session. I was good with that because this was still just enough milk for Timmy. I planned to wean him soon and had been working towards that goal with success.

When my milk supply dramatically increased on May 2nd, I was very concerned. I thought it might have been because hubby and I had sex the day before. I know oxytocin helps with milk supply but after several days, the supply did not go back down. It remained at 9-10oz or more per pump session. I chatted with a few friends about this and they all told me not to worry. There was no evidence of a loss and there was no way to prove a correlation. There is no research on lactation during pregnancy. I worried but not too much.

The final sign that made me feel like something wasn’t right, happened just the day before my ultrasound. At one of my clients’ postpartum visit, I had an overwhelming urge to hold their baby. I kept talking about how beautiful she was and I seriously wanted to pick her up and just cuddle with her.

Now that I am looking back, I wonder if my body knew our baby was dead and was giving me that urge. I rarely want to hold other people’s babies. I remember thinking how weird it was that I wanted to just grab her and sit on the couch with her. I thought it might be just because I was pregnant.

Then just two days later when my friend came over to watch Timmy so we could go to our appointment alone, I too, had a strong urge to hold her two month old. When I did, it was cathartic. I didn’t want to let go. I just wanted to have my own baby to hold in my arms. I wanted to cry but I didn’t. I just held him. That’s when I remembered how I felt at my client’s how with their baby. It was very much the same desire. I NEEDED a baby. I WANTED a baby. I contemplated adopting a baby right there!

As I looked at him, I thought about what this December would feel like for us. No new baby for sure. No “First Christmas” outfit or bib. Nothing would change at all except the loss we would feel not having that new baby to hold.

Photo Credit: Dravas Photography

Photo Credit: Dravas Photography

STATS on baby:

BFP – 3/27-15 11dpo – BETA 32, P4 17.6,

15dpo BETA – 205

16dpo BETA – 317

18dpo BETA – 759

6w1d P4 – 9.6 HB = 122

7w1d HB = 133

 

When the Bereavement Doula Needs a Bereavement Doula

What is it like when a bereavement doula needs a bereavement doula?

The night before my scheduled ultrasound, I began to panic. Over the last few days, I had become overly concerned with going to this appointment alone. All of my other appointments, up until then, I had the support of my husband and children with me. This appointment; however, was an extra appointment and my husband was unable to attend due to a training class he was attending. His employer had paid for his attendance at this training so there was no way he could get out of it unless it was an emergency. I had no idea my appointment would turn into a psychological emergency.

Due to the anxiety I had been feeling, my husband felt I should have someone attend. I have talked a bit about that in previous posts. For me however, I am so closed and it is difficult for me to let anyone into my life on such an intimate level. Finding the right person was imperative. I had a few select people I considered.

The first, was unavailable. I was disappointed because I had had her with me in previous pregnancies at appointments but she has some business in her life now that prevented me from feeling like I would have an open space to find relief or experience grief if the appointment went sour. She is one of a few people I have been vulnerable with and allowed to see me cry.

The second, wasn’t sure if I would let her in the way she knew I needed to. She was so perceptive and with her new family, I didn’t want to intrude. As much as I wanted her there, we both would have been a sobbing mess if things didn’t go well. Which we all now know, they didn’t. Looking back, it wouldn’t have mattered if we were sobbing.

Then there was my third choice who in reality, should have been my first choice but we have such an interesting relationship that I didn’t even think to ask her until I did. When I asked her, I also felt like I was intruding but when I explained the nature of what I needed, she didn’t hesitate to be there for me. And let me tell you, with her profession, this was no easy thing for her to do.

I am so glad she was able to be there for me but I am writing to share with you about what I actually did to her that I didn’t even realize. I made her feel inadequate, anxious, and concerned that she didn’t help me at all and I did this without even knowing it. She is not a bereavement doula and I thrust her into that role unprepared and with no training.

It is true that I didn’t know that this appointment would bring on the need for her to be my bereavement doula. Even though I was nervous, I really felt like I was overly prepared for a positive appointment. I was almost certain we would hear our son’s heartbeat. Almost…

When my friend met me in the foyer of the medical office building, she greeted me with open arms but her energy was one of nervousness. I brought Timmy with me and she immediately took on the care taker role which was very helpful. I think both of us didn’t really know what to do in those moments. She also felt like we would hear his heartbeat and she would be returning to work after a small scare but that was not the case at all.

Then there was the ultrasound where I knew almost instantly that things were not good. I went into my own bereavement doula mode of INFORMATION. I needed information, even though I knew it. I was on autopilot. I was looking to my friend for a reaction that would tell me how to react. My friend though, instantly thrust into a role she has never filled nor was prepared for, also didn’t know what kind of reaction to give.

In talking with her after, she told me she didn’t want to break down. She didn’t want to start crying because she didn’t want me to feel like I needed to console her. She wanted to be stoic so I could break down, yet in those first moments, I was being stoic.

Bereavement DoulaAfter moments of silence and a warm touch and expression of condolences from my midwife, I began to shed some tears. Some. Not much. As my eyes began to burn, my friend came over and hugged me. My feet still in the stirrups with my birthing organs exposed. Very few people would I invite into such a private moment.

She held me as I cried but I still held back. Little did I know, she was holding back. She was confused on how to support me. She was confused on how to react, be, provide, and do. I put someone in a horrible position. I brought someone into a sacred space of death. The sacred space of learning about a death. Those early moments that people only imagine what a family would experience, she was experiencing it with me.

This wasn’t what we planned. It wasn’t what I had first asked her to do and even though she was doing it, I was actually wrong in putting her in that role. As a bereavement doula, I had no idea that I needed a bereavement doula and that changes everything.

For all the women who ask their friends to be there for support or go to these appointments alone, they are missing out on support that they deserve. My friend did an amazing job for what she was thrown into. I couldn’t have done that alone. I couldn’t have gone through all that by myself. I needed support but I should have thought enough to ask another bereavement professional to be there for me. I do feel “bad” for putting my friend in that position.

Our relationship has grown and we are closer because of this experience. When she left, she took my book “It’s Not ‘Just’ a Heavy Period; The Miscarriage Handbook,” and instantly began utilizing the information from the book. She was there every step of the way and I believe that book can be so helpful for the care givers who will support families through loss.

So this is what it’s like when a bereavement doula needs a bereavement doula. A trained friend or doula is probably best just so no one feels inadequate but in the absence of a bereavement doula, anyone is better than having no support. I wouldn’t change a thing about how she supported me. I couldn’t have asked her to support me any better. She even came home with me following the appointment and just sat with me which is exactly what I needed and didn’t even know it. Behind the scenes we were both confused about how we should react with each other but up front, while it was all happening, everything fell into place perfectly.

– Breaking the silence of First Trimester Miscarriage

Miscarriage Series – The Reason

“Everything happens for a reason.”

“God saved you from an unhealthy baby.”

“God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle.”

“You wouldn’t want a child with a disability.”

These are all “excuses” we were given recently regarding why this miscarriage happened. It’s sad really. While I generally take the side of “there is a reason for everything,” it’s still a painful statement. It doesn’t matter if there was a reason, I wanted THIS baby. I found myself bartering, “I could handle the baby haven’t a cleft palate or a heart condition,” “I could have made the sacrifice and taken care of a child that would never walk for the rest of my life.” I wanted THIS baby.

It was Tuesday, May 26th, just after 5pm. I just began to settle with the idea that I would not hear from the genetics department today. I had called Sandy that morning and inquired about the genetic testing on the baby. The information she provided was very hurtful and even though I longed to hear from her again, I was still upset with the communication about the process of having the baby tested.

My friend Candis had just stopped by. She brought us a meal. It was the last meal anyone would bring for us for this miscarriage. I was excited to see her, even though she had her nearly three month old son with her. It was so nice to have had a bunch of meals over the last two weeks and I was sad to know they would be stopping but we were ready to start moving forward.

As Candis brought in the food and her children, I heard my phone ringing upstairs. I ran up to answer it. When I saw the number, my heart sank. I quickly answered it and walked down the stairs.

“Hi, Elizabeth? This is Sand with genetics. The results are in,” she said.

I sat at the bottom of the stairs. She paused long enough as if to wait for me to tell her I didn’t want to know anything. I paused for a moment. I wanted Hubby there with me when we got the results. He was still at work. Once again, I would be going through another tough moment alone.

I don’t remember what words I muttered but Sandy began to talk.

She said, “I know what happened. It’s quite clear.”

“Your baby had 69 chromosomes. It is a condition that is not compatible with life.”

NOT COMPATIBLE WITH LIFE

But our baby DID have life. Our baby had a heartbeat. Our baby had lived for two months inside me. Our baby was growing.

I listened intently as she explained how this condition normally happens. She described that it was likely two sperm fertilized the egg. She relayed that it had nothing to do with our age, anything we did or didn’t know, or anything we were exposed to. She said that this just happens and it’s extremely rare. She said it would never happen again.

I began to place my hand over my mouth as if to hush myself. I began to feel a weight lift off me. I began to feel…happy. I began to feel…relief.

Then she said, “We also know the sex of your baby.” She again paused.

“You baby was a male.”

A boy!

More relief. I felt the stress melt off my shoulders. My shoulders lowered and I began to feel the weight of my own body on the staircase. My hand was still covering my mouth. I was in shock but began to feel so happy. Another boy! Hubby will be so happy to know we didn’t lose another girl. I was happy to know it wasn’t a girl.

I was also happy to know this baby’s name. For months it had been calling to me. It was a name I never would have thought of but it was just there, so many times. In fact, I had told hubby just a few days before that if this was a girl, I would be really confused as to why this name had been calling to me so much.

I began to feel “normal.” I began to think, “We could try again.”

As I was on the phone, Candis could tell something was up. When I ended the call, she had a bewildered look on her face. I said, “What are the odds that you would be here the moment genetics calls?”

She smiled. She made a snarky yet funny comment about how she just makes things happen. I began to smile. It was a real smile. It wasn’t a fake one. It seemed I was “back.” It seemed, I had come out of the dark place.

I told her what happened with the baby. I told her that our baby had triploidy. Then I told her we knew the sex of the baby. She asked. I replied, “Are you coming on Saturday?” She said, “Yes.” I responded, “Then you will find out Saturday.”

I giggled.

We talked and I held her baby and just loved on him. Joey came down and sat with us. Candis had her daughter playing on her lap and we just talked. Then Hubby came home and I explained everything to him. It was a happy, yet sad moment.

After Candis left, I explained to Hubby we knew the sex of the baby. He asked.

I said, “Our baby’s name is Gus.” He smiled. “Really?” he asked. “Another boy!”

“Yes, another boy,” I said. It was time to come up with a full name.

I can’t yet explain why I felt so much relief. I know that most people never find a reason for their baby’s death. For me, it was so comforting to know it wasn’t anything I did. Yes, I am a bereavement doula and I tell women in loss that I was nothing they did but I still felt like it was something I did or didn’t do. Namely, did I get on progesterone fast enough. I had been struggling with that for weeks.

I often wondered if the baby missed out on that vital nutrient for too long when I didn’t know it was low. I often wondered if we would lose the baby because of that and I also wondered if we had lost the baby because Hubby and I had sex. I know that sex itself doesn’t cause miscarriage but I have a sort of “condition” when it comes to sex and wasn’t sure if this particular issue would have caused the demise.

Knowing that our baby was very sick and would not survive was comforting. Hubby even felt comforted and also considered trying again. For now, we aren’t avoiding or preventing life. It’s not our faith to do so. Let’s talk about Triploidy for a moment. Triploidy most often occurs when two sperm fertilize the same egg. This gives the baby a full set of 69 chromosomes. There are other forms and two other ways that this can occur, a double headed sperm is another way as well as an issue with egg cell division.

There is Mosaic Triploidy and Full Triploidy. After researching Triploidy, I found families who are living with Mosaic Triploidy but only one case of a baby that lived to 10.5 months with Full Triploidy. Gus had Full Triploidy which was 69XXY. He would have had severe problems.

I gave life to such a special child. Even though his life was short, this was such an amazing feeling for me. I truly held this child his whole life. This child knew nothing but love. We were special together. I was so happy and proud and sad in all the same moments. I had a gift.

I love Gus and will always love him. I miss him and wish so much that I could hold him, kiss him, smell him, touch him, and be his earthly mother but I also know that I will see him again someday. I will see him in his perfect self. He was a gift.

Gus-Petrucelli-Service-46

Augustus Jude Petrucelli

Born May 11, 2015

I would have carried you.

– Love Mom

Miscarriage Series – 2 weeks

miscarriage in ultrasound roomIt’s been two weeks since we found out you were gone. Two weeks since that fateful day in the ultrasound room. I almost can’t believe how fast the time has gone by. It even seems as if some family and friends think I should be done grieving at this point. So few still check on me.

It’s been a particularly rough day. Hubby worked swings today and didn’t spend any time with me this morning. He said he wasn’t feeling well but it’s pretty typical for him to sleep until he has to go to work when he is not working day shift.

I just cried and cried as he was leaving. I didn’t want him to go to work. I hadn’t wanted him to work all week. He said he didn’t want to leave me while I was crying. I mustered up the courage to stop while he was still in the house. I didn’t want him to be late, even though I wanted him to stay. Even if I had cried and cried like I did after he left, eventually, he would have left for work.

Literally, as soon as the front door closed, I laid down on the floor in our bedroom and wept. I wept so loudly that Timmy left the room. I must have scared him. I wasn’t just weeping because I lost our baby, I was also distraught because I was purging baby items. I had spent all morning sifting through baby clothes and toys. Clothes and toys that I set aside specifically for this new baby.

Being enveloped within this baby world, my mind couldn’t handle it. I wanted the new baby to play with these toys and to wear some of these clothes. Instead, I was folding them, sorting them into piles, and packing the ones that made the cut away. As I put some in the “save bin,” I wondered what I would be saving them for. It is unlikely that we will try again. It is unlikely that we will have another baby.  But the clothes I did save, had significance. They were worn by both my boys and had memories attached to them. Someday, I will look at them again and remember how tiny they once were.

After ten minutes of bawling in my bedroom, I called down to Timmy. I could hear him coming up the stairs. “Mommy done crying?” he asked. He kept repeating it as he climbed up the stairs. “Mommy done crying?” I wanted to start crying just because of that question.

As he arrived in the room, he came towards me and asked again while looking intently in my eyes, “Mommy all done crying?”

“Yes,” I said. “Will you please give me a hug, mommy really needs one right now.” He leaned in and hugged me but quickly moved away, focused on some links and rattles that I was trying to donate.

The rest of the afternoon was uneventful although I could feel my insides wanting to burst again. I just couldn’t. Timmy didn’t want to be around me while I was crying and that hurt worse than the crying. I tried to talk to hubby through text messages about what I had been struggling with. We seemed to work some things out but it hurt deeply.

I still hurt over the fact that he left me at home alone while he worked. I still hurt over him trying to go back to work so quickly. I still hurt that he seemed so focused on work and I knew that if one of our living children had passed away, things would be different. He would be home.

I relayed those feelings to him and he tried to explain. When he said why he returned to work last week, it stung my heart. He wanted to go back. It was his way of coping. He needed to talk with other people. I get that and I am glad it was his way of coping, but it still hurt, because I was struggling so much.

With friends and family passing along that I should be moving on by now, his interest in work and leaving me alone at home compounds that pain. It’s still too early for me to “move on.” I wish people really understood there was no “moving on.” It’s about moving forward and I will, just not yet. Maybe after the baby is buried? Maybe after the commendation ceremony?

I promise I will get there. I know I will but there is no timeline on grief. A friend of mine who DID check on me today was struggling with how she felt she needed to be for me. I told her that it was not her responsibility to hold me up. She wanted to take my pain away. So many people want to take my pain away and when I help families through loss, I too, want to take their pain away. But I can’t. She can’t take my pain away.

The grief has to be felt. There is no way around it. If there was a way around it, then there was no love or desire for the child that I was carrying. All that can be done is to support me in that grief, through meals, cleaning, listening, taking care of the kids, taking care of other household duties, etc. Anyone who is experiencing pregnancy or child loss wants the pain to go away but it takes time to muddle through that pain and understand, we have to feel the grief.

The evening ended with a meal from a friend. The only friend I have shed tears in front of. We really aren’t that close but we have some things in common and our boys used to look so much alike it was scary. I found it odd that I shed tears in front of her. Maybe my hormones were off?

I settled in for the evening after cleaning up my kitchen and sterilizing all Timmy’s bottles and pump parts. I thought about how amazing it was that I was still pumping for him. He is the love of my life right now and brings a smile to my face every day. I am so happy to provide this milk for him. I remember that I still have placenta pills in my freezer. I pop one of those in and pray I feel better tomorrow.

– Breaking the silence of First Trimester Miscarriage

Miscarriage Series – Day 8

8 months pregnantThere is this feeling you get when you become pregnant. It’s a warm feeling. It’s a feeling only a woman can experience. It’s life within you. There is a life within your womb that has been created and can only be sustained and nourished by your body. It brings a feeling of joy and love. You become connected to your soul in ways you never have been even if you have been pregnant before.

You also connect to another soul inside your body. Sometimes, you can feel their presence. Other times, their presence is silent but you know they are still there. Then there is this baby, who I had no idea left. Their soul disappeared leaving the shell of their body within me. I knew when Ruby left. I knew the exact moment but this baby…this one left so quietly I didn’t even suspect.

Right now, I am struggling deeply. My body is returning to having an empty womb but desperately wants that warm feeling and all that surrounds it from that new life. Even my children and husband treat me differently. Having been pregnant four times now, I realize it’s not about feeling “special.” Sure, I felt special during each pregnancy. I am doted on a bit more, given a bit more slack on household duties and forgetfulness but it’s deeper then that.

It’s a spiritual connection with this new life which surrounds everyone in the house. An aura that moves from room to room, lighting the way as you go, filling every crack and hole within your being with light and love. But all of that is gone now. All the dark parts are returning and it hurts. It’s nauseating at times. My body is fighting the un-pregnant state.

On the outside, it looks like I had a much better day today, but I didn’t. I woke up at 4am and could not go back to sleep. I tried for an hour and decided it wasn’t going to happen. I spent the rest of the morning on the couch watching TV. I was able to see my son that morning before he went off to school, something I haven’t done in almost a year now that he is in middle school.

My husband had the day off and he cancelled his evening job to stay with me. That in and of itself, helped keep my thoughts from drifting to all I have lost. There were still moments where it came up. The thought of moving is a big deal right now. That’s been our focus for the last month or so and now that we will not be needing the extra room we are working through the pro’s and con’s of moving.

Then there are the baby items; should we donate/sell them or keep them. Then comes the not so easy to see reminders such as, I would have been entering the second trimester on our big summer trip. I cried several times thinking about this baby that I will never get to hold.

The funeral home called this morning to tell me that they had not heard from the surgery center yet on when they could pick up the baby’s remains. I had to make a few calls today inquiring about the baby and when the baby would be released. I didn’t care how awkward the conversation was for all those involved at the call center. That’s Kaiser’s fault for having such a complex system. It was heartwarming to talk with the OBGYN clinic because they were so empathic. It seems they have some training in pregnancy loss, beyond any of the other clinics I have been too, especially our first one where we lost Ruby.

By the end of the day, we learned the baby’s remains were ready for release and the Archdiocese of Denver Mortuary would pick up the baby on Monday. The funeral would be at the end of the month. The mortuary is creating a fetal death certificate and wanted the name of the baby. We still haven’t named this baby because we are waiting on the genetic testing. I don’t think we will know for at least another week but we did learn all the testing would be covered so that was a relief.

I don’t want night to come. Night seems scary to me. That must be why I have gotten less and less sleep the last few nights. When night comes, it’s just a reminder. I know that one more day has passed since the baby was living inside me. It’s another day moving forward. It’s another day without that special feeling.

My Facebook news feed is full of pregnancy announcements, birth announcements and pictures of new babies. When a mother posts her struggle with her new baby, I remind myself of how lucky I am that I won’t have to go through that. I won’t have to experience engorgement, baby blues, postpartum depression, sleep deprivation, constant nursing, worrying about co-sleeping or transitioning to crib, sleep regression or any of the other hard moments of raising a baby but I realize that this is all just my way of rationalizing and justifying my loss. It’s my way of saying, “See, you didn’t really want that anyway.” It’s my body’s attempt at trying to make myself feel better.

Instead though, I will continue to feel that hole in my heart and soul. I will continue to long for the child that was once within my womb. I will continue to look at other children and do the math in my head, “That’s how old Ruby would be.” I will forever tell people I have four children, two which are living. I will continue to feel like less of a mother because I couldn’t bring two of my children home with me. What is a person like me called?

– Breaking the silence of First Trimester Miscarriage

Miscarriage Series – Day 7

UltrasoundIt’s been one week since we learned you were gone. Today is not a good day, not because of the one week anniversary, just because I am extremely tearful. Today, I woke up alone. Just as I walked into that exam room without my husband, so I walk today, without him.

Yes, I had a friend with me, that fateful day in the exam room. I was very grateful to have her support, to have her come home with me and spend time with me, but she was not my life partner. She was not my husband. This journey started out so backwards it seems. I understood why he wasn’t there. I did not blame him for not being there. I am shocked he was able to stay and complete his day with how upset I knew he was but today, he is gone by choice.

He was up early, at 2am. Part of me wanted to get up and leave. I wanted to force him to have to stay home. I cried for hours last night and hoped that he would choose me. I prayed for a complication, bleeding, illness, anything so that he would choose me. He left before 4am. He chose work.

I know that men and women grieve differently. I teach this to my families who go through this loss but what I can’t teach them is how to cope with the feelings of inadequacy. The feelings of work being chosen over her/him. It’s a dark place to be. I don’t want to die, but I have no will to go on. I couldn’t hurt myself but I could care less if something happened. And going through these moments alone, suck.

If you are reading this, you are at least 1-2 weeks behind where time actually is. I wrote these on the actual day but I am posting them days/weeks later. So please keep that in mind. This place I am in right now is dark.

I miss my baby, I miss being pregnant, I miss the life we were dreaming of having. As my bookmark says, “What I lost, was a dream.” It feels like it was a dream. Pregnant one moment only to awaken no longer pregnant. You wonder, was it real? Was THAT the dream? Was I dreaming inside a dream?

There is a breeze this morning. The newly grown leaves are twirling and flickering back and forth on the trees. I stare at them. If you saw me, it would look like I was staring off into space but really, I am studying those leaves. So free yet tied to the branch that gives them life. To let go, means certain death. Falling to the ground, shriveling up from lack of life sustaining food and water, crumbled by a step on top. Left to blow away with the wind.

It’s me, clinging to life right now but I am doing this today, alone. No words I can say will change my husbands mind. No words will bring him home to me. This was our exchange of messages this morning:

4:01am – “I hope your day is better today. I love you and I’m thinking about you.” – Husband

6:47am – “I don’t like what you said. “Have a better day.” Its as if I can control my feelings right now. A better day would be to still be pregnant. A better day would be to be here with you and not alone with my thoughts. I will not have a better day.” – Me

7:07am – “I didn’t mean to upset you, I just hoped you would feel better today, that’s all.”  – Husband

7:10am – “Well, you just enjoy your day. Getting out, being with people, being away from me. I shall sit here, suffering alone with my thoughts and feelings. Worried about going back to work on Tuesday and trying to be happy and involved for Timmy. That’s my life today. Which sucks.” – Me

7:53am – “I prayed for a complication just so you would stay home with me. It hurt so much to see you so concerned with work. Especially when you thought you could go to work the morning of surgery and took it day by day instead of just committing to time with me.” – Me

8:07am – “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was hurting you. I’m concerned about a lot of things right now. I am very stressed about many things right now. You and I are not communicating very well right now.” – Husband

8:11am – “A shift has taken place where work seems more important than family. I must be failing in some way to provide the gratification you need so you don’t seek it through work. You only wanted one day for yourself to grieve and then you wanted to return quickly. My surgery got in the way of that.” – Me

You can see the childishness in this. I know he is grieving too. He has shown his grief. He has also mentioned he seems to be feeling much better much faster this time. I thought I was on the same path too, until yesterday. Maybe it was shock, maybe it was the anesthesia, but here I am, in that dark place again.

I hate this place.

Things I have been told:

You can’t stay depressed.

You have other kids you need to be functional for.

You have to move forward.

In reality, I want time to stand still right now or then there’s the other feeling. The feeling that is hard to talk about because people instantly take it the wrong way. It’s the feeling of wanting to die. It’s not suicidal ideation. I am not wanting to kill myself. It’s the feeling of just being so deep in the grief, you want to die. The pain is so overwhelming and there is no way out right now, you just want to die. It’s just like this bible verse: Matthew 26:38 – “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.”

Yes. To the point of death. But alas, I will not die. I will move forward. I will come through this grief. I know I will. This is yet, just another moment in time.

– Breaking the silence of First Trimester Miscarriage

Miscarriage Series – Day 6

Things I noticed today:

I slept all night without having to go to the bathroom.

My bloat is starting to go away (it just leaves my fat so I need to work on that now).

I no longer have round ligament pain.

My milk supply has completely returned to normal.

I feel much better today both physically and emotionally.

There is blood today. There wasn’t any yesterday.

I still have a long way to go. I am still weepy over the fact that we will not be adding to our family. I am still sad thinking I have four children but only two living. I am still ornery and don’t care who I offend right now (which sucks big time). I want to move forward much faster but I know I can’t.

Hubby took the day off today but I feel guilty now that my blood pressure is back up. I am not sure if we will actually spend time together or separately. It’s cloudy and I want to get out of my house. I am tired of laying on my couch and watching TV.

I managed to make myself some breakfast and eat it. Grief doesn’t take my appetite away. It makes it worse for me. If I could get a chocolate IV right now, that would help tremendously. I blog a little this morning and try to catch up on some emails and texts from worried friends. Then, I relax on the couch with the family.

Timmy slept 14 hours today. I had to check on him twice and I was so worried he was dead. He has never slept that long before, ever. It was so hard to go into his room to check. I was so relieved when both times he was just sleeping. After relaxing a bit the sun came out and both hubby and I decided we should do some yard work.

As soon as I entered the garage though, I began to cry. There it was. The stroller. THE STROLLER! The one I bought for this baby. I bought the stroller when I was about six weeks pregnant. I knew it was early but I know it’s super expensive and I knew that if the baby died, I would be able to sell it easily. So, that’s what I did. I threw it up on Facebook.

FOR SALE!

Baby Jogger City Select Double Inline Stroller

I was in love with this stroller from the moment I learned about it. I searched far and wide for a great double stroller. This would fit all my needs once the baby came. I found it at the Just Between Friends Event in Douglas County. When I dropped off my own stroller to sell, I saw this one for sale. I was so happy I signed up to volunteer because that meant I would get an early pass which allowed me to shop before the sale opened to the public.

As a consignor, I also got extra tickets. I went with a friend to this event. I told her I had two items on my list that I HAD to get. Luckily, she needed one of the same items so she went there and I ran to the stroller room. I was so happy when the stroller was still there. I immediately purchased it. The cost was high but not as high as if I bought it new. It’s a $600 stroller. I got it for more than half that.

I was giddy but I also had buyer’s remorse, which is common for me. I hate to spend money, especially on myself. I got it loaded in the truck and told hubby how excited I was and followed it up with, “I feel bad for buying it.” He was excited that I spent the money.

When he saw the stroller at home, it made this baby so real to him. Reality set in. We would have two kids in a stroller. Excitement all around!

So, when I saw this in the garage and needed to move it so I could mow the lawn, I just bawled. My baby, the baby that would grow up in this stroller, be pushed around all over the Cherry Creek trail with big brother, was gone. Those dreams, vanished! I will have to build new dreams.

I snapped a picture and quickly threw it up on Facebook. Almost instantly, I was getting private messages of people that wanted it. It was THAT desirable.

I also put it on my personal Facebook page and friends were telling me not to sell it. It was almost as if they were begging me not to. As much as I don’t want to sell it, I need to sell it. It’s such a painful reminder. We will probably still sell our home and move and I don’t even know how to fold it up. One friend sent me a video on that and told me to take off the extra seat and store that. Then just use it as a single stroller. I am not sure if I could nor if I would have a need for it. I have a jogging stroller for Timmy that I love to use. I guess I could try it first since I know how expensive these strollers are and if I keep it, I wouldn’t have to buy another one if we decide to try again and actually get a living baby from this.

Hubby sounds like he really wants to try again. I know I have been thinking about it too but then I think about how old we will be when this child would become an adult and that just scares me. I want to see this child’s babies and I am not sure we would. I know Timmy is only two years younger right now but those two years can be significant later.

Then there is the curiosity…will I develop Asherman’s Syndrome again? Will my fertility return? Did this miscarriage mess up my fertility? Only time will tell but I know one thing; I am leaving this up to God. I can’t take on this burden. He will lead us.

Tonight is the first night I have really struggled. I am deep within my grief losing will to go on. I know this is just a stage of my grief and I won’t sit in this despair long but it sure hurts. Nothing anyone has said or done has brought relief. I sit curled in the fetal position on my bed, filling the blankets with tears. I just want this to be over. I never want to love like this again.

– Breaking the silence of First Trimester Miscarriage

Miscarriage Series – The Name

I have been thinking about what to name this child. This child must have a name. I felt Ruby was a girl from the beginning. We wanted that confirmed through testing but Kaiser messed all that up and discarded Ruby’s body like trash. It is imperative this doesn’t happen again. I want to follow this baby’s remains to and from the lab. I know that isn’t possible.

We have been praying daily that we get the results we desire before the naming ceremony. I especially want to confirm the sex of this baby just because I want to give this baby their proper name. I have names picked already and I will be really confused if this baby turns out to be a girl because the name Gus has been calling to me throughout the pregnancy.

There were at least three different times I can think of where this name called to me. I will definitely name this baby Gus if we learn he is a boy. He will be named after St. Augustus or St. Augustine. I prefer Augustus just because it sounds more masculine. I have no idea what his middle name will be.

The name Charlotte is what I have chosen for this baby if she is a girl. We will call her Charley after our friend Charles Owens who died in May 2008. I imagine him holding this baby for us in heaven. We are actually going to visit his grave in a few weeks which makes this a bit more surreal. I also do not know what her middle name will be.

SSGT Charles Owens (Chuck Eddie)

I know that naming a baby this early doesn’t make sense to some. I know many people that choose not to name their baby, even if they find out the sex. Some feel like it’s wasting a name. I don’t feel that way and I wish other people didn’t feel that way either. I mean, if this child was born at 36 weeks, would they not give them a name then either? I know this is a personal choice and it’s so hard to decide but with the name Gus, I just knew.

I wonder if other families have the name chosen this early or some names they would pick through and just decide not to use them? I know this is something I have been working on with loss families and I hope I can help them name realize they should name their baby. It actually brings so much comfort and we can talk about the baby in our daily lives so much easier.

I love being able to refer to Ruby as Ruby vs. the baby. Now that we have two losses, “the baby” wouldn’t make much sense. Which baby? Maybe people with multiple losses say, Baby #1 and Baby #2. I know when I host the candlelight vigil most of the babies have names but sometimes we get Baby #1 and Baby #2. It’s not often though.

Either way, this particular baby will be dignified with a name and we can’t wait to call him or her by the chosen name. What do you think about naming a baby born in the first trimester?

– Breaking the silence of First Trimester Miscarriage

 

Miscarriage Series – Day 5

Groggy, dizzy, and fatigued. That’s how I feel today. I thought I would feel better but I feel way worse. My heart rate is in the upper 30’s and 40’s. My blood pressure doesn’t register on the blood pressure monitor I have. That tells me it’s very low. I hope I don’t have to go to the hospital. I don’t want to be admitted. I am not sure what they would do anyway.

Hubby doesn’t want me to go either. He wants me to just stay home and rest. I understand that but I am scared to go to sleep. I am afraid I will die.

The surgery center called to check on me and the service I received yesterday. I gave them great reviews except for post-op where there was no privacy. None of the curtains were pulled and people who came in and out could see me. When it was time for me to get up and dressed, I had to hold my pad between my legs (they didn’t put underwear on me) and my butt and part of my thighs were showing as a young teenager and his parents were walking by. I hope they address that.

I told her how I was feeling and she told me I needed to call my doctor. I did. They want me to come in. They want to check my blood levels to make sure I have enough blood. I don’t think this is blood related. I am not white or pale. I don’t think I lost too much blood yesterday. The doc gave me Pitocin and Methergine to help prevent all that bleeding. I think it’s just the meds.

Not sure which ones because in the last few surgeries, I didn’t feel like this but I felt just as bad with my first D&C. I am not bleeding much either so that’s good. I am glad I don’t have to stare at blood all day. That horrible reminder of what I lost. I just want to feel “normal” in every way. Part of me wants to try again, the other part wants to cut losses and move forward.

I haven’t really cried today. I am wondering if I have already moved forward from this loss. To me, that seems very odd. It is probably just all the meds I am on. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Hubby doesn’t want to take tomorrow off and that is stressing me out. It’s so hard to know how I will feel tomorrow. It was Day 3 after the D&C last time where I was admitted to the hospital for such a low heart rate. I wish he would just take time off. It feels so weird having him go back so soon.

My beautiful, amazing, compassionate, midwife.

My beautiful & amazing midwife.

My midwife called to check up on me. She also thanked me for the plant we dropped off for her on our baby’s birth day. She said we didn’t have to do that. I know we didn’t but she has been so wonderful and I wanted her to know that. She also told me that she passed around my book to the nursing staff. She told me the book was very well written. I really hope that It’s Not Just a Heavy Period; The Miscarriage Handbook makes it into the hands of someone important who will order bulk copies. It’s such a great resource.

It’s time for bed now. I am so tired of laying down or sitting on the couch. I really hope I feel better tomorrow and feel like going places.

 

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