Tonight I remember

I can remember it like it was yesterday. The excitement of having a baby. The thrill of being pregnant. Everything ahead of us. Then in a moment, the earth shattering moment, when I reached down and realized I was hemorrhaging.  The panic in my voice that woke my boyfriend out of his dead sleep. The frantic drive to the hospital, the nurses telling me they had gone through it too. Threatened Abortion. The word that my mind screamed NO at. No abortion isn’t the right term. I wanted my baby. I didn’t want an abortion.

I remember the drive back home from the hospital, after midnight. I remember stopping at McDonalds for a Chicken Sandwich. I remember calling first my Dad, and then my Mom who was on a business trip out of town. I remember the bath. Bathing, trying to relax. Praying to a God that I wasn’t even sure existed. I remember lying back down, and at some point, going back to the hospital.

I remember the exams. One after another. Each painful. Each invasive. I remember the ultra-sound. The tech holding my hand. Though now that I am remembering back on it I think the Ultra-sound took place on the first visit to the ER and not the second.

I remember the Doctor coming in. Explaining how the cervix is shaped, how the uterus is like a lightbulb, and how my pregnancy though viable was implanted in my cervix and not in my uterus.

I remember the heartbeat. When I had the ultra-sound. I remember hearing the baby’s heartbeat. I remember the technician saying that the baby had a good strong heartbeat. Then I remember the Doctor saying there was nothing that could be done. The only way to stop the bleeding was to remove the pregnancy. Remove the baby. He called it a fetus. But to me it was my baby. My future. The one thing I wanted more than anything else in the entire world.

I don’t remember the surgery. I do remember waking up in the ICU. I remember crying, and praying, and talking to the “Father” at the Catholic hospital where I was admitted.

I remember going home after a week. Being told that I was lucky. They were able to fix it where I could still have children. I remember the depression. Deep, long depression that sucked me in, and threatened everything around me. I remember my boyfriend not understanding. It wasn’t that he didn’t want the baby, he just didn’t understand how I could change so much, essentially overnight.

I remember nine years of not being able to function on November 18th. Then I remember the year that all changed. When the doctor, and new doctor told me that they would schedule my induction. I would go into the hospital at 8pm on November 17, 2013, and by November 18, 2013 I would have my baby girl.

I still feel sad. Sometimes, a mixture of happiness and sadness. As I look at my son, now ten and think what life would be like if he had an older sister or brother. I don’t know why, but I think he would have an older sister. I feel like that baby was a girl. So, sometimes I am sad, thinking about what could have been. But there is my light, my joy, my beautiful baby girl who was born nine years to the day that I lost my first baby. A beautiful smiling, sweet, happy, and amazing young girl who is turning into an amazing young lady. Four years ago, my sorrow turned to joy and I embraced this idea, that after nine long years of suffering, depression, and sadness, I was given a gift to celebrate. I still miss that baby. I still remember every vivid detail of the day I lost her. But I am also celebrating. The doctors and nurses whose wisdom and care enabled me to have four more precious children. Today I rejoice.

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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.