Today began like yesterday.
Laying in bed, ignoring the world. Texting friends. Chatting in my pregnancy loss support groups on Facebook. Laying in bed some more. Dozing. Researching. Dozing again.
Anything except getting up and facing my day. Anything except facing my loss.
I skipped church today. I felt like maybe last week was a disaster. People — some of whom I had a relationship with, others who were casual acquaintances — wanted to talk.
I did NOT want to talk.
“How are you doing? You look tired . . . “
What, exactly, could I say that would be polite or sociable?
“Hi. Well, I am tired. I just got home last night from a trip to bury my grandma. And I’m actually not OK. Not at all. I’m pissed off at my body. I’m pretty mad at God. I’m beyond disappointed. And I’m carrying what I’m told is a baby that will no longer live. Not really sure how I’m supposed to feel about that. And well, my feelings change like the tide. So I don’t even know how I am. Except that I am anything BUT fine.”
I didn’t say any of that.
I just barely nodded, and gave a half-smile. I couldn’t even find it in me to lie and say “Fine.”
I. Am. Not. Fine.
So — I skipped church today. And laid in bed. And felt sorry for myself. And let myself feel so, so very depressed.
Then Ryan came home. Off to lunch we most go. I rolled out of bed at quarter past noon. Brushed my hair and teeth, changed clothes, attempted to smear on some foundation and mascara, and off we plodded to lunch. It actually went OK. I was glad to have someone ask me how I was and be ready to listen to my answer.
My in-laws took Maddy this afternoon, so I suggested to Ryan that we head to Barnes & Noble. I was given no information about what to expect from a miscarriage by my Drs’ office — or even when we would start miscarrying — so I was ready to dig into some information and figure out what the heck is going on with my body anyway.
Hmmm. Barnes & Noble may not have been the best choice.
They had lots of books available online. Only one dealing with miscarriage/pregnancy loss in stock.
And it was called “How to prevent a miscarriage.”
Funny title, I thought. All the Drs and resources I’ve read say that there’s not much of anything you can do to prevent a miscarriage. OK, maybe if you’ve had three losses, they refer you to a specialist for some testing, you finally figure out (maybe) the causes of your loss, and there’s a slight chance they actually have a solution to solve your problem. Then maybe you can prevent a loss. But that’s after you’ve already lost three babies. I guess the fourth time is a charm, right?
Maybe B & N carries that book because it sells. Because it offers the illusion of control. Because who doesn’t want to prevent a miscarriage, really? And maybe because it just feeds in to what the rest of society tells us….
Miscarriage happens a lot, but, whatever you do, don’t talk about it. Don’t admit to it — unless you KNOW it’s to someone else who’s been there. Then you can be a part of a secret club, and you don’t have to bother anyone else with your pain. Baby loss is not appropriate for the public square. It might upset someone.
Pregnancy loss might happen a lot, but it’s true . . . we’re all in denial. It’s much more fun to pretend that everything’s OK. That babies don’t die. That moms don’t have to say goodbye before they ever said hello. Let’s just keep the illusion going . . . That we each have control over birth and our pregnancies. That swollen ankles, hurting backs and loss of sleep are all perfectly acceptable pregnancy complaints. But . . . “My baby died” sure isn’t.
So I was getting irritated. Irritated that I was just simply trying to find information, and it wasn’t there. Irritated that the only way I could even find the information I was hoping for was to stalk a pregnant woman with a burgeoning belly to the right aisle in hopes of finding a pregnancy book that at least addressed miscarriage. (Which, by the way was nothing but two pages in one book. And even that didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.)
But what about the rest of us? The 1 in 4 going through a loss? Don’t we have a voice? Don’t we deserve information?
I was so irritated I loudly complained that I need a “Pregnancy for Dummy Bodies” book because my body was so dumb it didn’t know how to keep a baby, and it feels like it doesn’t quite know how to lose a baby either. I said it loudly in front of other couples. I said it loudly in front of the pregnant woman.
Maybe I’m just tired of trying to keep quiet, I didn’t care who I said it to.
“I’m miscarrying.” There, I said it.
After I settled on reading a book about fertility, we got cookies and coffee and sat and read. Which I actually really enjoyed.
Then I wanted to walk. I want to get things moving. I don’t really know why, other than every day is hard and I just want it over. So we walked, and walked, and walked.
Three times I had pain and cramping, my belly felt a little harder and more swollen, and toward the end I felt a little weak — which I can’t really explain (because I have no information!). The cramping didn’t cause any bleeding and didn’t seem to do anything but be a magical cure for the oh-so-fun pregnancy side effect we all love to hate. (I’ll let you figure it out.)
Afterwards we went home, and I hoped that the cramping would keep up.
Today is the end of the month, and I knew I needed to work at my business. So, I put my pregnancy/miscarriage/whatever I’m supposed to refer to this as, in the tiny little back closet of my heart, and set to work.
For several hours, I managed to stay fairly on top of it. I got a great bonus for my work today. And all in all, it was a decent few hours.
A dear friend even stopped by to drop off dinner for us. It was supposed to be for tomorrow — but we dug in tonight. We swapped stories, caught up, and sympathized with each other. There’s nothing better than knowing someone else just GETS you.
Ryan took care of Maddy all night, and took himself to bed. But I wasn’t ready to call it quits today. More googling. More asking for advice from friends on FB. And more … well … more emotional denial.
As much as I am trying to grieve, I don’t feel like I know how. As much as I want to admit that this is a baby, I don’t feel like I can. I know it is. But a part of my heart feels locked away. It wants to feel. It wants to grieve. But my grief is caged. And I don’t know how to let it out.
Maybe because I know once it’s out . . . it’s going to hurt. Very. Very. Bad.
Maybe that’s why I want information so badly. So I can deal with my loss on an intellectual level — not on an emotional one.
I’ve been struggling with wondering how much to write on my blog. How much to share.
I was afraid to post on FB because I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me. I was afraid NOT to post on FB because the longer I keep silent, the more I feel like I was carrying a shameful secret — not just something that is a very real part of my life right now.
Last night I had a dream where a lady was asking me if we were going to have another baby — and she said something about hearing I had a baby. Pretty much at the top of my lungs I screamed at her. Yes, I want a baby. More than anything. But I lost two. TWO. STOP asking me if I WANT a baby!!! It’s not always a CHOICE!!
It felt really good in my dream to just SCREAM and let it all out.
Maybe my subconscious knows I’m tired of hiding. Tired of trying to be polite. Tired of keeping up with social norms. I’m pretty sure it’s just time to share.
I have to believe that others of you have been in this place. Or you will be in this place. Or you know someone in this place. And I want to the world to know that pregnancy loss happens. It sucks. IT SUCKS. But it happens.
When it happens, you don’t have to be ashamed. You don’t have to hide. If you WANT to hide, by all means, do. But don’t ever feel like you HAVE to.