Elizabeth Petrucelli

Author, Blogger, Educator

Tag: miscarriage series (page 1 of 2)

Miscarriage Series – The Due Date

Last night we couldn’t sleep. Hubby and I stayed up most of the night watching episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. We needed something restful and something to pass the time. Sleep was just not finding us. We both felt that we couldn’t sleep because we were “laboring.” Our due date was tomorrow. The due date our entire family was looking forward to. A due date, that would come and go with no reward. There would be no crying baby.

I had been cranky most of the day. The week leading up to today was filled with an emotional roller coaster. I learned of many friends who had become pregnant which furthered my grief. Learning about some pregnancies, felt like a stab into my heart. Then there were the ill wishes for some of these announcements. It was such an icky feeling and I know I shouldn’t feel that way, but I did.

Teaching students over the last few months has also been hard. So many of them were due on the same day and I had to stand there, seeing them with their glorious bellies filled with living babies they would birth. They were carrying life and all I could carry was death. My womb being silent since May. I was relieved that with my last classes they were all due in January or February. I no longer had to be reminded of what I had lost.

When we finally decided to lay in bed, I cried. I was on the verge of a breakdown when hubby finally nestled in bed next to me. I was wearing an old shirt. A shirt that he gave me and I have worn for the past 18 years. A shirt that is nearly falling apart but I love it because wore that shirt during all four of my pregnancies. I remember hubby took a picture of me in that shirt just a few days before I gave birth to my first child. The shirt is so large, it could accommodate my full-term belly.

Pregnant

I asked hubby to rub my back to help me fall asleep. As he did, he said, “I need to buy you a new shirt.” Then I wept. Through my tears I said, “But I love this shirt.” He was unprepared for my cries. He rubbed my back harder and said, “It’s okay. Why are you crying?”

I couldn’t form the words.

I knew that if I had continued, he would most likely figure it out. So I was silent, except for my cries. All I could think about was how I would not be bringing home a baby tomorrow. I imagined the co-sleeping being attached to my bed and lovingly watching my sleeping baby. It was too painful knowing I would likely never experience that again.

 It took hours for me to finally find sleep only to be awakened early. We were going to visit Gus’s grave for the first time today. The entire family managed to make it in the car in time to get Joey to school. After dropping Joey off, I asked to stop by the store. I wanted to pick up a few things we could leave at Gus’s grave. My stomach was also very upset. It was gurgling and I was having intestinal cramps. I assumed it was my body, being in “labor.”

At the store, I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I was hoping to find a few blue carnations and a small plastic truck. I settled on a small balloon that said, “It’s a Boy!” and found a metal police tow truck. I knew Timmy would want it but I also knew that when I explained that this was Gus’s truck, he would be fine with leaving it.

When we arrived at Mt. Olivet, we found the grave site easily. I had been there many times before but never to visit my own child. I was comforted to see that there were other names on the grave marker.

Augustus Jude Petrucelli

Timmy played with Gus’s truck and balloon. I snapped a few pictures. We even grabbed tissue paper and a crayon to capture his marker.

Augustus Jude Petrucelli

Hubby cried. I was surprised I didn’t. Maybe it was because I had been there so many times? Maybe it was because I cried so hard last night? Or maybe, I was just apathetic to the situation? I just held him. It was all I could do.

Timmy was a good distraction. He ran around the graves checking out the toys and balloons around all the other graves. The other graves looked so beautiful as well. We looked at some of the other names on the markers and noticed a few that we remembered at the candlelight vigil this year. I took comfort in that as well.

It’s hard to believe his due date is here. It’s even harder to believe that he is not here with us. This would be his first Christmas. I would wear him. I promised him that I would wear him more than I wore Timmy. I promised him that he would be within arm’s reach every night, that I wouldn’t let him cry-it-out, that I would respond to him quickly, nourish him with my breasts, and adore having him as my final child.

Now I am left with an empty womb. A womb that will likely never carry another child; breasts that will likely never nourish another child, and a home that will likely never be filled with the happy squeals from my tiny infant. Silence returns. Of course, the house is not silent. It is filled with the laughter of a toddler and conversation with his older brother but in a sense, it is devoid of the presence we were expecting.

We love you Augustus. We gave you a strong name. We know we will see you again. I pray for it. I pray to see you in my dreams. I beg you to show me your face in my dreams.

Augustus Jude Petrucelli

The Miscarriage Due Date

Gus' Last UltrasoundI have been thinking about you so much lately. Right now, my belly would be ripe and we would be prepared for your arrival. Your due date is only a few days away. Joey was born a few weeks early and Timmy came on his due date so we would have either had you by now or you would be arriving any moment. It’s really hard to believe that you are gone and won’t be joining us this Christmas.

We were so excited to know you were created. God gave us your life and we are blessed for it. I carried you as long as I could, your whole intended life. You were our special creation and meant to be our last child but now that you were not meant to be born alive, we don’t know what to do. We seem a bit lost and go back and forth on whether or not we should have another child.

This is no different than the planning we went through with you and for Timmy for that matter. I know that if I were younger or my life had been different, we would have more children. In mass today, Father Ed talked about life and how we should be fruitful. I know that he wasn’t just referring to children but that is the most common definition of fruitful (be fruitful and multiply. – Genesis 1:28).

I sat between two families today who had small babies. They both had 1 year old boys and an older child. As I watched the two children within the families interact, I began to imagine you. The age difference between the children was about the different you and Timmy would have been. I would have two little ones. Two boys competing for my lap at church. I became sad.

Over the month, I had decided that another child really shouldn’t be in our future. We are approaching an age where it’s probably not fair to that child but when a mother walked down the aisle today with her newborn in her arms my heart just ached. Ached so deeply knowing that I won’t have that. I imagined holding you, carrying you in the Boba, nourishing you, sleepless nights, your crib in our room, and doing things more effectively than with Timmy.

Most of all, I would make sure we didn’t try cry-it-out with you and damage you like we did Timmy. I hurt over that and we only tried it a few times but those few times did the damage as well as keeping him in his own room when I know all he wanted was to be with us. There is so much guilt there.

But I can’t stop thinking about you and what we are missing here on earth. I know I will see you, we will see you, but it still hurts that you are not going to be here with us. We don’t get to kiss you, say hello, see your smile, or watch you grow. Instead, the last six months have been filled with “what-if’s” and “I would be’s” as we wait for your due date.

The due date that will come with nothing to show of it. The due date that seemed so far away yet is now upon us. The due date that needs to come so I can move forward; so I can know that it has come and gone and never will be again. I haven’t been stuck the last six months. I am sad every now and then but these last few days and the coming days, are filled with a deep sadness over your loss and all that we continue to lose because you died.

On Monday, December 7th, daddy and I will make the journey to your gravesite. We will release a balloon and say a prayer. We will probably leave a small toy for you but this won’t bring us what we prayed for. Visiting your grave will not bring you into our arms or make you feel my embrace. It will bring us a small feeling of peace, knowing you are with the Lord and will never experience pain, fear, or evil.

My little Augustus Jude, I love you. I love you so much and I miss you. I miss all you were going to become. I want to see you. Please come to me in my dreams. Please let me see you and know what you would have looked like. I can see Ruby but I can’t see you and I really want to .

You are my son. You are mine. ‘Till we meet…

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

 

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 – The Commendation Ceremony

Commendation Invitation for Miscarriage

I wasn’t sure what a Naming and Commendation Ceremony really was. After Ruby died, we were encouraged to celebrate her life and name her. We didn’t have an official ceremony but we named her. I had been to a commendation ceremony before for some clients but I wasn’t sure what ours would be like considering how early this baby was born. I wasn’t nervous though, I was very excited. A feeling I hadn’t experienced much over the prior weeks.

My excitement was just like the excitement I had before our gender-reveal party for Timmy. No one knew the sex of the baby and we all couldn’t wait to find out. When I learned the sex of Gus, I couldn’t wait to share it. I wanted everyone to be surprised just like if he was born alive.

I did fear judgment on the name we chose for him. I wasn’t sure if his name would be accepted by all. In reality, it didn’t matter, this was our son and the name chosen for him. I really can’t say we chose his name because Gus was chosen for him from the moment I knew he was within me. Oh how I wish he was here to carry such a powerful name.

As we all rushed to get ready, I remembered I needed to grab Gus’s memory box, the baby figurine, his cross, and his memory book. A blanket that was made for him would be brought by my friend Peggie. I couldn’t wait to hold it and see it (I sleep with this blanket). Very few memories for such a small child but memories none-the-less.

Gus's Memory Box

We got out of the house on time, but traffic was horrible getting out of town. I had wanted to stop for some thin Sharpie’s but there was no time after how long it took to get out of town. We would show up just five minutes before the ceremony and I had things to set up.

We arrived at the church and family and friends were gathered inside the Narthex. I knew this would be overwhelming and difficult for me in that I needed to greet each person, hug them, and hear their words. As an introvert, this is hard on a regular day; today, it would be even more overwhelming. I was also in a rush to get things set up and talk with Father Ed as I had not yet given him Gus’s full name.

I rushed through greeting everyone and made it to Father Ed where we talked about what was to take place and set up Gus’s things. It was nice to have a few private moments with Father Ed before the ceremony. I was so thankful he was doing this for us.

After everything was set up, all the people were still in the Narthex and I asked them to go sit. Father Ed officiated getting that done with a welcome to all Christians. We entered the church.

The ceremony started with a beautiful song called I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light. I had no idea this song would bring on the tears. I didn’t think anyone else would sing during the ceremony but as my voice choked and I no longer could sing through the tears, I could hear those around me singing. As the third verse began, I could see Father Ed walking up to the altar and as much as I wanted him to hear my voice resonating, my voice was not there.

The lyrics literally took my breath away and I was overcome with grief. It was as if Augustus was telling me, “All is okay mommy. See, this is what I am doing!”

1. I want to walk as a child of the light;
I want to follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world;
the star of my life is Jesus.

Refrain
In him there is no darkness at all;
the night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God:
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

2. I want to see the brightness of God;
I want to look at Jesus.
Clear Sun of righteousness, shine on my path,
and show me the way to the Father.

Refrain
In him there is no darkness at all;
the night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God:
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

3. I’m looking for the coming of Christ;
I want to be with Jesus.
When we have run with patience the race,
we shall know the joy of Jesus.

Refrain
In him there is no darkness at all;
the night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God:
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

As the service began, I wondered if this was “overkill.” This was the stigma of miscarriage coming out in my own mind. As much as I knew this was needed and more people should do this, I felt a bit bad about making such a hoopla about my own child.

We had our priest and a cantor who were there with a fully lit church. We were such a small group there celebrating his life but it seemed, for a moment, that we were putting out all these people. I leaned into Hubby’s ear and asked, “Do you think this is overkill?” He shook his head no. Afterwards, I would realize why he felt that way.

As Father Ed chanted the beginning prayers, Augustus’ name was sung. I am not sure if everyone picked up on it or not and I hoped he would say his name more and more throughout the ceremony. I could hear my friends taking pictures all around me as I tried to keep the tears from flowing.

Commendation Ceremony 2

My friend Katie, read the first reading. It was so beautiful and relevant to infant loss. As she read, I wondered what was going through her mind. I wondered if she wanted to cry. I wondered if she would make it through without crying. I wondered if the loss of her own son, Henry Thomas, would bring on grief for her. I wondered if I was causing her pain. In that moment, I realized how hard this must have been for her. I just wanted to tell her I loved her.

Father Ed proceeded with the Gospel and then the Homily. The Homily took my breath away again. Father Ed has such a way with words. I wanted to soak in every word, remember it all but there was not way my mind could do so. Augustus’ name was repeated several times so all could hear and I had really wished in that moment, that we were there for another reason. A happy reason, not celebrating a short life.

Our friend Donna then read the petitions and it was so hard. She instantly started crying and it was so difficult but all I felt was love from her. I didn’t matter that she was crying. She was validating this experience. Our experience. She didn’t need to be stoic. She knew how hard this was for us. She had comforted her own daughter through loss. Afterwards, she came to us and gave us a big hug. I just wanted to tell her I loved her. She may never realize how much this meant to our family.

Commendation Ceremony 1

We were asked to place Ruby and Augustus’ name in the Book of Life. Oh how I couldn’t wait to see their names in there. I was awe struck by the fact that Ruby’s name would now be in a Book of Life. We had never placed her name in one before. She too, would be commended and honored today.

After Hubby wrote their names in the book, I noticed that Augustus’ name was missing a U. I had hoped we would have time to correct it later. We weren’t able to fill in the dates of life in the book. I knew Augustus’ but Ruby’s took a bit to remember her exact date. Father Ed told us we could fill it in later. I am not sure when later would be.

Hubby and Joey were then offered time to speak. Joey originally wanted to go first but then asked his dad to go first. I am sure he was just nervous. Hubby started but he was crying. He said some beautiful things but I loved that he said, “When your wife gets pregnant, you fall in love with that baby instantly. Someone you have never met and don’t know.” I know those weren’t his exact words. He probably doesn’t even remember his exact words but what I don’t think he realized is that I needed to hear those words. We talk, but I rarely hear those intimate thoughts he has. It was healing to me.

Joey shared his experience of what he heard from me when Gus died, how he felt, and how hard it was for him the next day because he knew I was hurting. I love him so much. We have an amazing bond and I really need to be more cognizant of that and help grow that bond. He loves me so much and we are “attached.”

Joey drew this in the sand at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. It was his message. He misses his brother.

Memory of Gus at Coral Pink Sand Dunes

The ceremony concluded soon after and we walked out behind Father Ed. We waited in the Narthex for the rest of our family and friends while they signed Gus’s book and we hugged them and thanked them for coming. They all said they thought the ceremony was beautiful. They all felt it was needed. It validated everything. We lost our son. It’s okay to grieve and our son meant something, no matter how small he was.

– Breaking the silence of First Trimester Miscarriage

Miscarriage Series – The Burial

My brother is here this morning. He arrived unexpectedly two days before but it was a very welcome visit. He even stayed an extra day which made things so wonderful. We talked a lot and the best part was we just took up where we left off as if we had seen each other yesterday.

It’s a Friday, but since my brother was here, I made my Saturday morning muffins. I had hoped he would eat them, but he didn’t. Some people just don’t eat breakfast. 🙂 We talked again this morning and nearly got off to a late start. I didn’t have much thought about how today would go. I needed to remember to bring the camera but that was about it.

Since I had been to communal burials before, I knew what to expect. Last night I felt I just wanted to know what angel bed (casket) our baby was in. There are always two angel beds and this was the only issue I dwelled on as I drifted off to sleep.

We said our goodbye’s to my brother and headed to the cemetery. Hubby and I talked about what to expect. I mentioned that he might be asked to carry one of the angel beds. I really hoped he would. I thought it would bring him comfort. I always seem to want to carry them. I want to touch them.

We talked about how much better I feel knowing what happened with the baby. I have truly felt so peaceful since we learned the baby had triploidy. As I write this post, I am realizing how hard it is not to talk about the baby using the name we chose. That post has already been written but not shared yet so I am still trying hard not to mention any details that might be revealed in another post.

It was a nice and quiet car ride. I wasn’t nervous. I don’t know if Hubby was or not. I actually wondered if I would cry at all considering how good I was feeling.

When comparing this loss with Ruby’s loss, I feel like I have come to peace significantly faster. I wonder if that’s okay. I talk with Hubby about how others I know are still struggling tremendously with their losses. They are still so engulfed with their losses that it affects their every day life. I told him that I wondered if there was something wrong with me because I seem to be “normal” with my losses now.

He didn’t seem to think so and was sad that others I know are still struggling so hard. I stopped talking about it but wondered if that meant I didn’t love my children as much or that I wasn’t as invested in it as my friends were. I am still sad, don’t get me wrong, but I am not crying every day. I also think that much of the last few weeks was postpartum baby blues. It is so hard for me after I have a baby and I don’t think the loss was any different. My body still had pregnancy hormones that needed to be cleared out of my system and I have been sweating a lot during sleep the last few days which is another sign of those hormones clearing.

As we enter the cemetery, I am excited and I hope that it is a small, quiet ceremony. I park the car backwards so I can get out easily and follow the limo to the gravesite. The kids get out of the car and we head into the building. I noticed that the parking lot was pretty full but assumed there was another funeral taking place.

I was stunned to see that the inside room was full of families. They were all there to bury their babies. Some were smiling, laughing with their kids, conversing with others, and there were a few that were crying, sobbing, and sad. I told Hubby that I was so glad our baby was being buried with so many other babies. It was comforting to know our baby wasn’t alone in the angel bed.

Hubby found an empty round table and we sat as we waited for the service to begin. We were told to follow the car to the gravesite and file out of the room. All the mothers needed to raise their hands so the funeral director could count how many mothers there were. I knew they were counting how many crosses they needed to bring. I was nearly giddy for the plain, white cross we would receive that was made from the left over wood that our baby’s angel bed was made from.

This was that “tangible piece.” The closest piece we would get to our baby. I wanted to hold it, rub it, smell it, as if it was my baby. I wouldn’t get it for a bit but I wanted that cross. I wasn’t leaving without one.

We got back in our car and I saw Melissa, my friend who is a bereavement doula. She waved at me as all the cars got in line to follow the limo carrying our little ones to their final resting place. Hubby and I talked about how beautiful and comforting the cemetery was. We also talked about purchasing the headstone for the marker. One headstone is placed there and we can pay to have our baby’s name on the marker. I told Hubby we wouldn’t leave until paying for it. It was expensive but we needed this.

We make it to the gravesite and park along the rows of headstones. A therapy dog hops out of the car in front of us. Joey is obsessed with the dog but oddly enough, never gets a chance to pet him. I see Melissa with all the bears she will give each mother and we make our way through the large crowd. There seemed to be 50 or so people there.

I noticed that no one was helping the funeral director take the angel beds out of the limo and I probe Hubby to jump in. He hesitates. He tells me if no other dad volunteers he will. I was disappointed. I really wanted him to grab the beds. I had no idea how hard that might be for him, I just wanted him to participate.

After ten minutes, two dads volunteered and carried the angel beds to the gravesite. They are set down and the service begins. People are crying around me. There are Magpies that are chirping but their noises sound more like wailing. I take note and wonder, have they overheard so many women crying that they are mimicking their sounds? It was eerie and comforting all at the same time.

Miscarriage BurialThe crosses are placed on the angel beds and my heart sinks a little. It looks like someone started painting on the crosses. I had hoped for a plain one but I didn’t see one. There were flowers painted on them in different colors. Some blue, some pink, some green, and some with sunflowers. I didn’t want a sunflower, that was for sure.

I didn’t feel like crying. I was taking pictures and trying to be in the moment. I wanted to remember burying our baby but I was in between being a loss mother and being a bereavement doula. It was such a weird place to be. I wanted to support those around me when in reality, I was the one that needed support.

Melissa came and took the camera from me and took some pictures of me with Joey as well as the angel beds. When it was time for me to get a cross, I jumped in line quickly. I didn’t want to miss out on getting one.  Melissa passed out her bears. I waited to get one after everyone else did. She gave me and the boys one privately.

As the priest “commended” our children to God, I broke down. The tears started flowing. I could hear Hubby crying behind me and I reached out to him. I look up at the sky and think about God holding my child. I want my child. I need my child now.

I want to touch the angel bed. I want to know which bed my child is in. I turn around and grab my husband. I pull him tight as I mutter the words, “I want to know which one he is in.” The angel beds are placed into the ground.

Siblings of the other babies gather around the hole and toss in flowers, notes, drawings, cards, balloons, and other items to be buried with their babies. I know Joey wanted to do something similar but I forgot flowers and he didn’t make a note. He wanted to give the baby a stuffed animal but he also forgot it. I told him to bring it tomorrow to the commendation ceremony.

We had a few pictures taken as a family next to the hole and then we left to go pay for the marker. The burial and service were free but the marker cost. As we filled out the paperwork, the baby’s name was written down…for the very first time. I stared at it. In awe. I want my baby here, not in the ground.

– 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 – Hand and Stone Spa

Hand and Stone SpaHubby scheduled me a massage at Hand and Stone Spa. We are both members there and have really enjoyed the services they offer. It was Sunday, the Sunday after Mother’s Day and we were headed to his mother’s house to celebrate Mother’s Day. Last Sunday was ruined by snow so we were doing a “re-do.” Hubby had visited the spa that day to pick up a gift certificate for his mother. While there, he thought he would be nice and schedule a massage for me the next day.

I hadn’t been out other than doctor’s appointments since the loss and this would be a great way to get me out of the house. It would require some coordination, as I would have to drop Timmy off at day care but this would get me out and help me make “moving forward” steps. I was excited, yet scared. I mostly looked forward to the relaxation I would get.

Hubby asked if I wanted to schedule an appointment with my regular therapist. I told him I didn’t want to see her and to schedule me with someone new. I didn’t want to see her because we have quite a connection and I felt it would be too emotional for both of us. Really, I felt like we would both spend the hour crying and that I wouldn’t leave relaxed so he scheduled me with someone new. There were no issues with him scheduling the appointment.

The next morning, I got Timmy ready for day care. He HATES day care and usually cries when I drop him off. This is just a drop-in center and he has never been there longer than three hours but he has an attachment to his family and this is very hard for him. I struggled with the fact that I was torturing him that day just for me to be spoiled but I pushed through. I needed this and I would be better for it.

As we drove to daycare, I chatted with him as he sat in the back seat. I explained he wouldn’t be there long and that we would spend plenty of time together at home afterwards. As I pulled into the parking lot, my phone rang. I couldn’t answer it, I had to let it go to voicemail. My massage was at 10:00am and it was 9:50am. I was just down the street from the spa but I was still in a rush. I had never seen this massage therapist before and I didn’t know if she would need me to fill out a form for her.

I dropped Timmy off at the center. Surprisingly, he wasn’t crying when I handed him off to the staff. I rushed out quickly. I was glad but I didn’t want to get too emotional. If anyone looked at me funny for any length of time, I would break down and cry. I felt so fragile in these days. Hubby had returned to work and I didn’t want him there. I wanted him home with me and that was traumatizing to me.

When I returned to the car, I listened to the voicemail that was left for me.

“Hi Elizabeth, this is Allison at Hand and Stone. I see you are on the schedule but your record shows you are pregnant. We cannot massage you until you are at least 12 weeks pregnant. You will not be receiving a massage today.”

That was it. I tried not to cry. I was angry. The message was so cold. Didn’t this person understand that I wouldn’t be trying to sneak in a massage? Why was her message so cold?

I called back. I spoke to the receptionist, “Hi, I have a massage with Allison in a few minutes. She just called to tell me that she wouldn’t massage me. While I understand why I can’t be massaged until I am 12 weeks, I am no longer pregnant. I had my baby last week.”

The receptionist didn’t say much. She just told me that I could still get a massage. I made the assumption that in the five minutes it takes me to get there, that she would have talked with Allison, the massage therapist, and I would go straight to a room.

When I get there, I am not checked in. The receptionist is busy so I take a seat in the waiting area. I am trying hard not to break down. A massage therapist comes out with her client. She is at least seven months pregnant. I would describe her as “very” pregnant although there is no degree of pregnancy. I kept saying to myself, “Please don’t let that be Allison, please don’t let that be Allison, please don’t let that be Allison.”

I heard them talking and learned her name was Monica. “Whew, that’s the other person I could have had a massage with. I am so happy I won’t have her today,” I thought to myself.

Ten minutes later, I am still sitting in the waiting area. No therapist has come out to see me. I watched as the receptionist ran to the back. A few minutes later, she returned. The pregnant woman followed her and started walking towards me. My heart began to beat fast. I could feel it in my chest.

I felt my hands get sweaty as Monica reached her hand out and said, “Elizabeth?” I reached out and shook her hand out of habit.

“I will be your massage therapist today,” she said.

I immediately looked towards the receptionist and said loudly, “What happened to my scheduled therapist.”

The receptionist (who I later learned was a manager), had that look on her face. You know, the “deer in the headlight look.” She just stood there. She said nothing.

Monica told me that Allison wasn’t available and she would like to talk with me privately. I followed her into a room. She took me into the first room behind the waiting room and shut the door. She said, “Allison doesn’t feel comfortable massaging you.”

My heart sank again. “What? Why?” I thought. “What is so wrong with me that she wouldn’t massage me?

Monica continued with, “We talked with your regular therapist Erika and she said that you were eight weeks pregnant last time you saw her, is that right?”

I couldn’t believe what was happening. I felt like I was on trial or something. The reason I felt like this was because I saw Erika the day I peed on the stick. I knew she wouldn’t massage me if I was pregnant but I was really hurting and needed the body work. Nothing was confirmed by a doctor and the line on the pregnancy test was very light. After the massage, I told her I thought I was pregnant. I know she was scared but I told her it was all okay and it would be fine.

I felt mistrust. I felt like these therapists had been talking behind my back about my care. What else had they been talking about? Was my medical information private?

I couldn’t bear to be in the room any longer. I don’t remember what Monica said after that, I just ran out of the room. I moved as quickly as I could. I heard her talking behind me. I heard her say, “I would like to talk with you.” She sounded genuine but all I could feel was mistrust, anger, disappointment, and extreme sadness that I lost my baby and couldn’t even get a massage.

I yelled, “No!” And continued to run out of the building. I got in my car and just started bawling. I don’t even think I had been breathing. I felt so out of breath and just let everything out. I immediately called Hubby. He didn’t answer but I left him a message. I am not sure if he understood any of it because I was crying so hard.

I pulled into a parking lot across from the daycare and just cried as hard as I could. I couldn’t believe this. I took Timmy to daycare and ventured out to get a relaxing massage and this happened. I was on trial. I couldn’t get a massage and I lost my baby.

After I calmed down, I went to pick up Timmy. Later that day, I was able to talk with Hubby and I explained I needed him to call Hand and Stone and ask what happened. There is no way I can talk to them right now and I am not sure I want to go there again. I told him I wanted to file a complaint with the state about their treatment. I felt discriminated against because of my medical condition (pregnancy loss). I have no idea why Allison didn’t want to touch me. I felt like I had boils all over my body!

Hubby was great and told me he would call them right away and call me back. When he called me back, he told me that the manager, Amanda, was lost for words. He told me that she was very sorry for what happened and wanted to make things right. He said that she wanted to talk with me but wanted to give me time to recover. He gave me her number and told me that I could talk with her or we could go in and talk with her together. Hubby even offered to call her again later on my behalf.

I needed time. It would be hours before I called her back. When I did, she didn’t answer her phone. I waited an hour and called the actual Spa. I was transferred to her. I spoke with her for about an hour. She was definitely at a loss for words. She sounded very sincere and upset about what happened.

She relayed that the therapist should have never contacted me in the first place. She said that Allison is “set in her ways” and can be difficult. She said that they should have talked with their manager and the manager should have called me to ask questions. She also told me that the therapists shouldn’t have talked about my care but that Erika and Monica were friends so that’s why there was conversation.

I told her about my distrust and how upsetting it was that a pregnant woman was sent out to talk with me. I talked with her about what they needed to do for women experiencing pregnancy loss. I gave her the exact words that should be said when someone schedules a massage before 12 weeks and their chart shows they are pregnant. I talked with her about how no studies show a correlation with massage causing pregnancy loss in the first trimester. I even talked with her about training for the staff.

She offered an 80-minute massage to me. She really wanted to keep me and my family as members. I told her that we felt like leaving and never coming back. I talked with her about how I wanted to file a complaint with the state as well. I felt like she was being genuine though and accepted her offer with a few conditions.

I explained that I needed a therapist that wouldn’t stop if I started crying during the session. She gave me a recommendation of a therapist and stated this person was great. I told her that I needed this therapist to know that I had a pregnancy loss and not to ask me questions about it or talk with me about it. She stated she would talk with the therapist before I came in.

I also asked her to talk with Erika as I felt that Erika was probably hurt that I didn’t schedule with her. I explained to her why I didn’t schedule with Erika and asked her to talk with her. She told me that Erika felt responsible as if her massage caused the miscarriage. I explained that I hadn’t seen Erika in two months and there was no way her massage could have caused this miscarriage.

Amanda gave me her personal cell phone number again and told me to text or call it to schedule the massage. I felt confident she would take care of these issues for me. This was a Tuesday. I scheduled a massage for Saturday.

I was very disappointed when nothing had been passed on to my massage therapist and Erika. When I went in for the massage, my therapist asked me how I was doing. I assumed she knew what happened so I responded with, “I am doing as well as expected.” When she placed her hand on me and asked me what was going on, I immediately changed my tune and told her all was well. It was apparent she had no idea.

When I checked out after the massage, Amanda was there. I asked her if she had talked with Erika. She said she had not. She apologized and said she would take care of it right away. I felt more distrust. It was very important to me that she talked with Erika right away. She even said she would do it on Tuesday. Erika had been worrying for days about what happened when she didn’t have to be. I was upset and disappointed.

The massage was great and I was very happy to be accommodated but there were certain needs that weren’t met. I think Hand and Stone Spa failed miserably with my personal situation as well as my pregnancy loss. I really hope that Allison was reprimanded for the treatment (or lack thereof) that I received as well as for not following policy. I fear that wasn’t addressed either considering none of the other issues were addressed.

Amanda had said that she talked with her district manager and corporate about what happened. Did she? I think that may be my next step. Honestly, I hope Hand and Stone Spa sees this blog. They could use some training on pregnancy loss and how to help women through this. There is a market for massage following pregnant loss. Massage is very important to the healing process but there is no healing when a woman is treated as I was. There is more trauma. If there is a next time, I will use the massage therapists on the provider list at Dragonflies For Ruby.

If you have experienced pregnancy loss, massage can be an integral part of your healing. It is important to find a caring and compassionate therapist. If you are in the Denver Metro area, I have recommendations. If not, ask some of your pregnancy loss friends and family member who they might recommend.

– 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
Older posts

Subscribe to this blog!