Our silent grief
So I’ve been a bad blogger, a bad FB page administrator. I haven’t posted much on FB in the last month and I haven’t posted a blog since before the summer.... Well this summer kicked my butt. With all 5 boys at home, and no one wanting to do any camps or anything, I was the activities coordinator trying to keep them busy. September came and we began school and all the usual chaos that ensues that first week, plus some added unexpected chaos when our oldest child had a really rough adjustment to high school. The after shocks of that were felt until the third week of September. I was also teaching a childbirth class along with all of this also. Busy was an understatement. We also got some exciting, happy news during this time. In early August I found out that we were expecting our sixth baby. I was due April 10th. This time around I only had a mild case of nausea around 8-11 wks along and from about the 5th wk or so I was extremely tired. I was a little late in getting to my midwife for my first appointment, (see above crazy activities that occupied me in early September when I should have called to schedule it). I was a little over 11 wks when I finally saw her. The appointment went fine, except that we didn’t hear the heartbeat. I wasn’t too worried, I didn’t hear the heartbeat when I was pregnant with one of my other children until after 12 wks either. So initially, I opted to come back in 2 weeks for a heartbeat check instead of going in for an ultrasound. After two days at home thinking about it though, I decided on Wednesday night to call my midwife back the next day and ask for an ultrasound, I couldn’t stand being in limbo anymore. I woke up Thursday morning and was bleeding a little bit. It stopped by mid-morning, but an ultrasound was definitely the plan. It was scheduled for the next day, Friday. I was 12 w 2d and had a pit in my stomach that wouldn’t go away that morning. All that was found was that I was carrying an empty gestational sac that had developed to a little past 7wks. What we should have seen, even if I was only 7 wks along, according to what the sac was measuring, was not only the sac, but a yolk sac, which nourishes the baby until the placenta takes over, and of course there should be a baby, or the beginnings of, within the gestational sac. The sac was empty. This all went on before I even got that line on the pregnancy test in August. This type of miscarraige is also called a blighted ovum. I was sent home, I was numb. I got a little crampy that afternoon. And more of the same on Saturday. I was bleeding off and on, but not consistently yet. Later on Saturday I cried, and cried. And cried. Sunday came, and my crampy feeling changed over to contractions, they felt like early labor strength to me, and of course clots and more bleeding. I emotionally released my baby with the tears that I shed the day before, and so my body could now began to physically release it. I talked to my midwife throughout all of this, she kept checking up on me. She was great. So sadly on September 30, at 12w 4d pregnant, I joined the ranks of women who lost a baby. I suffered a miscarriage. Suddenly, I am thrown into a world that I didn’t know existed until now. This was my only miscarriage. The women and their families that suffer this kind of loss suffer differently than when someone loses a family member or other loved one. I am trying to choose my words carefully here, but I don’t think we have the words to describe these babies, except ‘angel baby.’ I am not trying to say that our angel babies are not loved ones or a part of our family, they are. But the difference is that we don’t have the memories, pictures, and stories of their lives to lean on, to recount and laugh and smile about, and enjoy and celebrate their time on this earth. Some of these angel babies we never got to feel move while they were still growing inside of us. Some we got to feel move, but never got to hold. Some we got to hold, but never got to take home. And some we got to take home but they didn’t stay with us. We suffer differently. We grieve, through all of the stages. In most cases, we don’t have a memorial service or funeral to help bring closure. Most of the time we don’t have friends and neighbors and family join us in celebrating their life, remembering them. There aren’t casseroles in the freezer left for later by thoughtful friends. We experience our grief mostly unbeknownst to others. We don’t talk about it. Many women, like me, that experience a first trimester miscarriage, didn’t announce their pregnancy except for maybe a select few, so many people in our lives do not even know what happened unless and until we tell them. I am breaking my SILENCE. I am hurting. I am grieving. More than one person has said to me--out of caring, trying to make me feel better, undoubtedly--that maybe it makes me feel better that a baby wasn’t there, that ‘no life’ formed. Well it doesn’t make me feel better.
There was a baby to me. I knew since the beginning of August, almost 2 months, and like any other woman that gets a positive pregnancy test, I immediately started thinking and making plans as soon as I saw that line. I figured out my due date right away. I thought about the time of year that was, it was close to Easter this year, between two of my other sons’ birthdays. Another spring baby. And because of the nutty labor junkie that I am, I thought about the birth. I was planning. For the next 7+ wks there was an undercurrent in my thoughts that pertained to this life that was growing inside me. For me, there was a baby. It didn’t matter when I found out on September 28th that it was just an empty sac. That was only physical. For me, there was a baby. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. So I thought it would be a great time to do a 3 part blog post on it. You just read post number 1. Stay tuned for the next two. This should keep me motivated to blog this month. :)