There is calm after the storm. Or at least this is what I’ve found after going through a miscarriage. I never had any way to explain what it’s like to live through losing a child, but looking back at the storm I lived through, I now see the calm….and I’m finally starting to feel it.
It’s been 9 months since my loss and every day I still think about my baby. At this time I should be putting my 2 month old to bed along with his/her 2 older sisters, but I’m not. I’m here letting you know that it is going to be ok. I wish I could say it gets “easier” or “better”, but it don’t. Life just gets a massive redirection on what your “normal” is going to be. To sum up these past few months…imagine watching the sky turn black as the rain and hail hits you, soaking you down to the bone. As if that isn’t enough that tornado came swirling in, taking you to a whole new level and slamming your world so hard you have no idea where to start to reconstruct your life. This is what it felt like, at least for me.
My story starts with a baby that wasn’t supposed to be here. There was no way I was to get pregnant. I have to have surgery prior to getting pregnant and my last surgery was 2009…here it was 2014. This miracle baby came and we couldn’t figure out how. Years without any surgery and yet here we were with a miracle baby. Maybe it was finally a little boy to balance out our house full of estrogen with two little girls. This was it, we were done….no more babies, all our baby stuff was gone, yet we sat with a positive pregnancy test. Emotions ran high, everyone was excited! Our world was flipped (in a good way) and we thought we were invincible.
Our first appointment was scary and emotional. That ultrasound didn’t show us what we wanted to see. When trying to figure out how far we should have been vs. where we were, were two different things. Not seeing a baby, just “the house” per the tech and doctor, but they assured us that everything was in the works and we would come back 3 weeks later to take a look again. It was the longest 3 weeks I ever waited through! It was an eternity of wondering if everything was ok. Then, low and behold, it was time to see this little creature! There was a baby, with a strong sound heart beat! All was right with the world….or so I thought.
It was 2 weeks later, and things were not right. We had soccer practice on Thursday nights for the girls. That practice I was running around with all the kids and notice some cramping, so I brushed it up to running and not drinking enough water but the overall sick feeling kept getting worse. Till that Sunday, I was spotting. I called the Ob/Gyn on Monday just to be told this is “normal” and to drink more fluids. I knew something was wrong, but I let the nurse talk me out of that “something was wrong.” Come Wednesday, there was significant changes in what “spotting” was and I finally got to speak with a doctor on Thursday morning. He wanted to see me and squeezed me in at the call in appointments. The whole drive to the office was done in silent prayer and just thoughts. I tried to give myself a positive prognosis…but who was I to kid, I knew this was going to be bad. As I reassured my husband to stay home so he could go to work that night, I lied through my teeth to assure everyone, it was going to be ok. The only problem was, having the medical back round, I knew this wasn’t good.
My heart sank, my ears blocked up and I don’t remember what my thoughts were because my mind went blank. It felt like an eternity to wait for the doctor to say everything was ok… He turned the sound off of the ultrasound and turned the screen towards me. There the baby was. A little head, body, hands, arms, legs and feet…just lying there, no heartbeat, not anything. He tried everything he could, but nothing. I watched my baby on the screen…lifeless. I was in shock or so I think. I couldn’t process this, what was going on? As they tried to give me options on what would be best for me health wise, I went the surgical route thinking it was the best. Walking out of that office was horrible. I walked in with high hopes and walked out through a waiting room full of pregnant woman. It hit, reality just slapped me so hard upside the head, and it started to sink in and yet to be reminded my child was gone. To be honest with you I do not remember my ride home. I cried, screamed, hyperventilated, tried to reason and spaced out. I made some phone calls to try to set up coverage for my other children to be taken care of and to let some of the family know what happened as well as the surgery plans. The hardest thing was to tell my girls. They took it much harder than I dreamt they would have. Heart ache was everywhere, everyone felt it. The heart ache wasn’t just for me and yet I felt so alone.
The next day was surgery day. It didn’t even sink in that this was it. I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore. My eyes hurt, head hurt, but most of all…my heart hurt. I won’t lie, it sucked! I had to repeat a million times over to every nurse, aide and clerk as to why I was there at the hospital. It felt like a red flag was there to make sure my heart was ripped out a little more each time they asked. When it came time to go back I got to see the doctor who was going to do the surgery and I asked him one question. All I kept thinking was I wanted to say good bye, on my terms. So I asked if they would keep the baby out and let me see him/her when I woke up. The answer I got is what honestly gave me my ground for anger….I was asked “why would you want to plague yourself with seeing your dead child?!” And add to that “your baby would be too small to save.” I was 9 weeks 4 days. At that moment I left it go and just agreed because I was in no shape of mind to dispute with a doctor or his assistants over what could have been seen. Waking up after surgery was horrible. I woke myself up from crying and I didn’t want to wake up…this was all a horrible dream. It wasn’t real, this wasn’t happening.
All this was the black storm clouds with rain and hail. I watched it all come rolling in and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. I got caught in that rain and hail and it hurt, it hurt like hell. Somewhere between sobbing, sadness, irrational thinking of what happened and the depression, I had to still “deal with life.” I still had to take care of my kids, a house and all that goes with it. I had to help my husband and kids deal with everything that just happened. Plus add in the anger to the doctor who did the surgery, let alone the anger I just had over all from losing my child. The emotions just spun, never knowing what would hit was just part of the non-fun life I had to take in. Resentment hit. I hated every pregnant woman in the world. I hated everyone who announced they were pregnant, because as they could go on, here I sat with nothing but a memory. Life sucked at that very moment and it continued for months.
As the months came and gone I tried to reason with God or with life or whatever I thought of at that very moment. Not only did I deal with the loss of my child but my great grandmother within a few months apart. I just couldn’t wrap my head around all this loss. So why not, add in every feeling on this earth except happiness. The only thing I could do was plaster on that fake hollow smile. I had and still have to push through the days. “Life goes on” or so I have been reminded a million times over, because I guess you’re not supposed to hurt months after your loss. At some point I quit talking to people when I was having a bad day because it was an inconvenience to them. They didn’t want to hear it, so I bottled it up. I quit talking about it all together except at support group. That was my only saving grace. People who understood the emotional roller coaster. “Life goes on!” I got so sick and tired of hearing that. I got tired of hearing all the cliché’s from everyone. While so many think they are helping, truly they are only hurting.
This is the tornado. The tornado of emotions whirling around in you and you never know which one it is going to be at any moment’s notice. I was told people were walking on eggshells around me and I quite frankly don’t feel bad about it. After losing a baby, even early on, we deal with post-partum. So mix post-partum with bereaving…welcome to my world. Trying to settle that cyclone was no easy task, but it had become bearable and now my feet are back on the ground (most days).
Since my due date has come and gone I had hit a place of numbness. For quite some time I really didn’t know what I felt. If I had to write what I felt and sometimes still do feel, my paper would be blank because I have nothing. There are days when I have nothing on my mind, nothing stirring in my soul or any full emotion at all. Blank. I guess this was a good place. Maybe it was my mind saying “guess what, it’s ok to take your first step in the million step path to healing!” Maybe it was a way to clear the slate and say, you can be happy and not by a hollow fake smile. It’s ok to hold on and let go. I have finally been grounded for the first time in months and I can watch as the clouds settle and clear. I finally have some peace. I don’t have the answers as to why or what happened and I accept that I may never have those answers. I may not be able to hold or see my third child, but his/her memory will be kept alive. I will continue to think of him/her every day and I’ll continue to wonder who they would be. But I am at peace because I let the storm clear out in time and watched the sunshine come out again. While I hang on, I continue to let go….I don’t let go of my baby or the memory, but I let go of that tornado.
Remember, no matter where you are in your time of grieving, this is not a race, you are not being timed and that tornado holds everyone captive for as long as it wants to. But I do promise that once you are grounded and you can have that peace and watch the sun shine again, you’ll wonder how you ever made it through. You are a mom or dad to an angel who helped you with every step of the way! I don’t expect the sun to shine all the time and I know there will be days of storms, but the calm always comes after the storm and it is with in that moment that I know I will be ok all over again. I wish you the best on your journey through your own storm and I hope you too will get that peace and calm after your storm.