Grief Sucks

Grief Sucks, Depression Sucks
It was November 17th, 2004, I was walking from my kitchen to my living room when I hemorrhaged, I knew instantly that I was losing my baby. It took nine years for me to overcome the grief associated with losing that baby. I had a son in 2007, another son in 2012, but it was my daughter born on November 18th, 2013 that finally healed my heart.
On March 20th I experienced another loss, this time, I wasn’t as far along in my pregnancy, and so for a while I was okay. I could rationalize that because I wasn’t as far along that I was fine. For a while that was true. Now, though, these last few weeks have been incredibly difficult.
Whenever I hear a baby cry, or see a newborn, I think that should be us in a few more months. I was due October 10th. As that date approaches, I anticipate that these bouts with depression will continue, that I might continue to have good days and good weeks, but I will also have days when I can barely function when the thought of doing anything more than getting out of bed is almost too much for me.
Three of the common phases of Grief
There are three common phases of grief. Depression, the stage that I am currently stuck in. Trouble sleeping, poor appetite, fatigue, lack of energy, crying spells, self-pity, lonely, isolated, empty, lost and anxious. All textbook examples of grief, and all the symptoms that I experience now almost on a daily basis.
Anger is another stage of grief. I know that I experience anger a lot of time. Anger at myself for not being able to stop the miscarriage. Anger at other moms who choose to abort or abandon their children. However, anger isn’t the primary phase. Instead, I seemed to be stuck in the depression cycle and worried, it took nine years for me to get through the acceptance phase when I had my first loss. I don’t want to go through another nine years bouncing back and forth between depression and anger.
Why did our baby die?
The first time around it was just my then fiancé and me. Our relationship ended shortly after the loss, and so I spent the next nine years wondering why did my baby die. Now I have a wonderful husband and three small children. Our two youngest, three and two, do not know or understand what happened. Sure they knew that we were going to have a baby, and then we weren’t going to have a baby, but luckily they have simply moved passed it as though it is something that normally occurs all the time. Not so lucky is our eight-year-old who just the other day said, “but Mom, I still don’t understand why we cannot have that baby. Why did our baby die?” A question I cannot possibly answer, because I do not know why. No one knows why when a pregnancy ends as early as ours did. Perhaps that is what makes this one difficult. With the first pregnancy, the baby implanted in my cervix, when the baby grew to a certain size I dilated, and they had to remove the baby to save my life, I knew then why the baby died. This time around, however, all I know are the bare facts, I was pregnant, but by the time we went in for the ultrasound at approximately nine weeks there was no heartbeat, the baby had stopped developing somewhere around six weeks, and no one knows why.
Getting in our way
Some things get in the way of the healing process, which makes moving from depression and anger into acceptance. Avoiding emotions are one of the main ways that we get in our way and prevent the healing process from taking place. When we avoid talking about it and avoid dealing with the emotions brought forth by the grief, we get stuck in the anger or depression phase. Compulsive behaviors can also impede or slow down the healing process. Minimizing feelings can also hinder the healing process. When it comes to miscarriage feelings often get minimized. Well-meaning friends and family will tell you that you should be thankful that the baby was lost so early so that there wasn’t an attachment. For us, we found out at approximate five weeks, and when the children were told they named the baby, our baby’s name was Sam, three weeks later Sam was gone, and the oldest sibling already felt an attachment. It is easy to minimize your feelings yourself. After my loss, I thought that it didn’t matter as much because unlike the first time I didn’t hear the babies heartbeat, and unlike the first time I had three children to take care of this time, so I attempted to minimize my feelings.
Knowledge is Power
I learned so much about depression and grief the first time. Still, sometimes I forget, and I have a hard time applying this knowledge. I know that there are several different stages of grief, more so than I have mentioned here. I know that grief doesn’t run in a straight line, that you might enter into acceptance and then go back to depression or anger. I am aware that denial is a stage of grief. I came into the denial stage early this time. We went in for an ultrasound on March fifth, only to find out that the baby had stopped developing. I believed that the doctors and ultrasound technician was wrong, I stayed in this denial phase until March 19th when I began to bleed, and on March 20th I went into the hospital to determine that the miscarriage had in fact taken place. After that, I moved out of the denial phase only to stay trapped between anger and depression. Knowing this, it seems like it would be easier to move into acceptance. I don’t know how to apply this knowledge, but I do know that grief sucks and depression sucks and somehow some way we will just have to get through it.

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Resident vs. Certified, Choosing a Doctor

Pregnancy-MassageMy friend is pregnant and she asked me the other day which hospital she should deliver at. I felt honored as I explained what I liked about our two local hospitals. My oldest was born at one hospital and my other two at the other hospital. Then the topic changed to one that was near and dear to my heart.

“Hospital A has residents and Hospital B has certified,” she said quite proud to know this. “That’s right,” I responded. Then, “I don’t think I would have a resident deliver my baby.” My heart dropped. It was a resident that delivered my youngest two.

When I found out that I was pregnant the first time I was absolutely over joyed. We weren’t married yet but we were planning on it. We discussed moving the wedding up. Then the worst happened, we lost the baby. Things spiraled out of control and we split up. About two years later I met the father of my children. We dated a short while before finding out that we were expecting. Thrown into parenthood we ended up living at my parents for a short while, and when my oldest was born he was premature. He spent the first week of his life in the NICU and came home on a breathing monitor.

So when a couple years later we found out we were expecting again I was all kinds of nervous. We saw a local doctor for the first five months when they found a problem. I was carrying to much water. We went to see a specialist at the local hospital and decided that since the hospital we were scheduled to deliver at didn’t have a NICU we would change providers. Since I would have to see the high risk doctor through the bigger hospital we decided to not pick another provider and whoever was on call would deliver the baby.

When our son was born almost a week late at the end of July a Resident, second year medical student would be the one to deliver. Delivery went so smooth and the baby and I went home two days later. Only seven months later I was expecting again. I asked the resident if she  would be our doctor and deliver our third baby. There was something about her that made me feel comfortable. She took care of me and the baby and the whole family for the rest of her time in residency and we were all heartbroken when she moved on.

How could I possibly explain this to my friend though? What words could I use to reassure her that a resident could be just as qualified as a certified doctor. They don’t do it alone. There was always another doctor in the delivery room. Would I have been open minded enough with my first baby to listen to someone? Probably, I took a lot of bad advice with my pregnancy. People told me to fear doctors and I did. They told me that Doctors didn’t have my best interest at heart. They scared me into believing that Pitocin was the worst thing ever, and that I should be cautious of any advice my doctor gave me.

I don’t know whether I can convince my friend that Residents are just as good at delivering as Certified Doctors. Here is what I will say to her and to any of you out there reading this, go with your gut. Ask a lot of questions constantly and remember up to the moment the baby is delivered you can ask for someone else if your doctor is making you feel uncomfortable. Take the advice and counsel of Doctors over anything you read on the internet, including my blog. I didn’t spend any time in Medical school, I didn’t go through residency, I don’t know the first thing about delivery other then what I went through with my own children and so my telling you what you need to do with your delivery shouldn’t supersede what a medical professional tells you.

I was happy with my Resident doctor delivering my two youngest and I told her that if she settled down and started a practice in my area I would continue to use her as our family doctor because I trust her decisions and advice. When it comes to your children and family you need to trust your family doctor and if you do not trust your doctor find one that you do trust.