Friday, July 6, 2012

Life Afterward - It's ok to talk

In three days, it will be two months since I found out that we were expecting a third child. I waited until now to write about it all, because--frankly--it's been too hard to write about. I've been too angry, bitter, sad--you name it. I think it's safe to say now that I'm healing well emotionally.

There are days that I think about what it would have been like. This Saturday I would have reached the thirteen week mark. No doubt, like his/her brothers, I'd have felt movement by now. At first, each Saturday that marked a new week brought grief and despair. Sundays were awful, because everything fell apart on a Sunday.

It's strange the depth of emotion that losing a baby brings. One day, I would be a heaping mass of tears and sobbing. The next day I would be fine, and that made me feel so guilty. Brad felt the same way. I almost felt during that first couple of weeks like I had to grieve for a certain amount of time, because if I didn't, I would be a horrible person. But I didn't make myself grieve--trust me, it came whether I wanted it to or not.

For the first two weeks, phone calls were awful to bear. If someone called, I cried. It was inevitable. Talking about losing the baby was just unbearable. Talking about it made it more real, and part of me wanted to deny it. At one point about a month afterward, I felt like it had all not been real. I had only known that I was pregnant for four days before things fell apart. I'd not had enough time to really feel like the pregnancy was real before I found out that it was over. The emotions from the loss are all over the place. I can't begin to explain to someone who's not experienced it how it literally takes over your mind. Everything else fades in importance. Retreating inward. Eating, eating, eating in my grief. No one had to worry that I'd starve to death--no, I responded in the opposite way. The scale bears witness.

The physical pain was quite awful. On Mother's Day when I went to the ER and was told that I was miscarrying, I went home and tried to accept it. The pain was maddening. It hurt to sit--it felt like I was sitting on a knife, especially if I sat on a hard surface. Days went by, and I saw my ob/gyn. Had two ultrasounds which neither confirmed a sac anywhere. It was unofficially determined that I had an ectopic pregnancy. No idea where the baby landed. That explained my pain.

D&C. Methotrexate. Sent home to heal. And wait. I didn't realize that it would take so long for hCG to lower. My hCG was so low--only got as high as 89--but it took three weeks to get back down to 0. No folate, no vitamins. Methotrexate depletes the folate in the body so that fetal tissue that is remaining is reabsorbed by the mother's body. I didn't realize how much food had folate, and it was frustrating to not be able to eat any of it until my hCG was 0. Three weeks eating chicken and rice, crackers, and cheese. And lots of prunes. I think you can figure out why with that diet.

For a month after the D&C, I had pain. A good portion of the pain was in the area of my ovaries, and it would come and go. Sharp little needle-like sensations that would show up, and then ebb away. And then there was the cramping that was similar to post-partum cramping. And I learned that methotrexate causes a lot of abdominal pain. You'd better believe it. Some days I remained in my recliner for hours. Some days I didn't want to get out of bed.

This week, my ob/gyn gave me the all-clear. I'm back to normal now physically, and now I feel like I can move on. People have told me that I never will forget. That there will be times when I'll just cry. The due date--January 12--may be a hard day. Mother's Day will always be hard, because that was when I lost the baby. I take comfort in the fact that my little one is with my Lord. That makes it easier for me to bear, even though it hurts that I'll never get to hear his/her first cries, watch it make bubbles out of saliva, make little cooing sounds or watch in fascination as Jacob plays the Star Wars theme on the piano. (Because any child of mine would HAVE to love Star Wars, right? :P) But it's ok--my mind takes me to heaven where one day I'll see that little person that is a part of me and a part of Brad and hug him/her and have forever to talk and laugh.

And now, it's ok to talk about losing the baby. I want to talk about the baby. I think there's this unspoken understanding that I sense among some that a miscarriage is not a real loss. That there's nothing that can be done, and so you should just accept it and snap out of it. Does someone just accept and snap out of it when a relative dies? A spouse? A child? Of course not. To suggest that a woman shouldn't grieve the loss of her unborn child is insensitive. No one is going to tell me that I can't talk about my child that I lost.

Have you suffered a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy? Don't be silent! Share your story with me--share your pain, your own "what ifs", your life afterward.

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