Unhappy Anniversary

It’s been one year since we lost the baby. September 13 was the day we found out about her condition, and September 23 was the day of my D&E. I don’t remember many details about those 10 days, just the hours of crying and begging my baby to die before I had to have the termination. I didn’t go to work, or leave the house other than to take my daughter to daycare. I honestly can’t remember how I spent my days. I know I didn’t cry ALL day long. I must have watched TV, or maybe cleaned or did laundry? Those days are lost to me now.

I think I’m doing okay, considering. I still think about the what-ifs, and sometimes imagine what life might be like today if our baby had been healthy. She’d be about 7 months old, maybe starting to crawl and experiment with solid foods. I’m sure she would be laughing and grabbing at her big sister, who would love being the one making her squeal with delight.

It’s too devastating to think that way, though, so I’ll stop.

To mark the occasion, I just made my very last payment to the RE for the frozen embryo transfer that gave us this baby. For those not doing the math, that means that immediately after losing our baby, we received an unexpected bill for thousands of dollars. It nearly sent me over the edge. But it’s done now, so hopefully I can let it go soon.

Until the storage fee for our two remaining embryos shows up, which it will sometime in the next few weeks. I’ll pay it, of course, because I’m just not ready to get rid of them yet.

So, as I was saying, I’m doing okay. Not great, but much better than I expected. I’m more focused and productive at work. I’m more patient and engaged with my toddler. I’m going to the gym a couple times a week and in general making an effort to be more active. I’m glad it’s fall again, even though the season is now marked by this sadness.

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More Sad Ramblings

I’m finding it almost impossible not to think about the alternate universe I could be living in right now if I had not lost my baby.

Instead of hauling heavy boxes up two long flights of stairs to set up for a work event, I would be wrapping up projects and briefing my coworkers who would be covering for me during my maternity leave.

Instead of crying over random baby items I (still) find stashed around the house, I would be purposefully and happily unboxing all the baby stuff from storage.

Instead of dreading having lunch with a friend who is also parenting with infertility, fearful that she may have “news” to share with me**, I would be excited to catch up with her and find out if they had decided on a FET date. 

I honestly don’t know if it’s healthy to let myself have these thoughts or not, but I don’t think I could stop them. Is it part of the grieving process, or is it hindering the process? I don’t know. They aren’t all-consuming thoughts, though they usually trigger a crying episode. I know I should be kind to myself right now, but having written this down, I now feel kind of pathetic. But, man, reality hurts so much right now.


** Damn, I hate when my instincts are right. She learned she was surprise pregnant from her pre-transfer bloodwork. I’m happy for them, but…. well, you know.

February

It’s February.violet-275x300

Breathe….

Ten days from now is my due date. (Was my due date? I suppose past tense is more appropriate.)

Breathe….

I keep thinking, If I can just get through it… Once February 11 is in the past, things will get better… easier.

The passage of time dulls grief, that I know for certain. But my grief is complex. All grief is, but what I’m referring to is the grief over not only the loss of my baby, but the how and the why, plus the grief over the loss of the family I had hoped we would have.

Every day, when I drop my daughter off at daycare, I see her interact with the other kids. For a few brief (but heartbreaking) moments, I watch her sit patiently as one of the younger girls “helps” my daughter take off her coat and boots. I see her make silly faces at one of the babies, and gently replace a pacifier like a pro, while I talk to the daycare provider. I’m barely holding back tears as I slip out the door to go to work. C would have made a wonderful older sister. Being an “only” will be great, too, I know – and C will never know any different – but it breaks my heart that she won’t get to be a sister.

While I have never for one moment regretted our decision to terminate the pregnancy, and even though I was treated with such care and compassion during the procedures, it remains a traumatic experience. And I still can’t get over the why. Why did this happen? I was on 2mg of folic acid, five times the normal recommendation for a pregnant person, and the exact same amount I took while pregnant with C. Why wasn’t that enough this time?

I’m holding on to a lot of shit. Shit that I can’t control. Shit that is irrelevant now. I’ve been holding on to the illusion that once my due date is in the past, all of that shit will dissipate, like magic. But that’s stupid. It’s not a magical date, and the universe just doesn’t work that way. I wish it did. I wish we didn’t have to do so much goddamn work to deal with our grief.

 

Shittiest Birthday Ever

Today is my birthday. We lost our baby 553001473-lonely_birthdaytwo weeks ago, so this is pretty much the shittiest birthday ever. Three days ago was the shittiest birthday ever for my husband. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day (my due date was February 11)…. all of the holidays that will soon be upon us will be the shittiest ones we’ve ever had.

The due date for my first ever pregnancy was the day before our wedding anniversary in November, and my miscarriage of that pregnancy was the week before Mother’s Day. So, it’s safe to say that pretty much every holiday, birthday, and anniversary is ruined. Only my daughter’s August birthday is still safe.

I know things will get better over time. The main loss anniversaries will always hurt, and I’m pretty sure Fall is forever ruined for me, but I know I will eventually be able to celebrate my birthday and other holidays free of grief. I know it takes time. But right now, it really sucks.

I’m trying to take grieving one day at a time, but it’s hard not to think about the holidays coming up and how much they are going to suck this year. Next year will be better, I know. As will the year after that. But for next year or so, I’m anticipating lots of awful, sad celebrations.

No Longer Pregnant

I wanted to preface this entry by warning you that it will be long, and sometimes very detailed. This is more for me than for you, dear reader, so please don’t feel bad if you can’t get through it all. I have read every message since my last entry, and I am so very appreciative of all the kind words and supportive comments. 

I spent the last week begging my baby to go before our appointment to terminate. I explained that it wasn’t her time, but that she could and should come back to me as soon as possible. I told her over and over that I loved her, but that this body wasn’t meant to be hers. I promised that we would try hard to make a new one for her, one that would be more whole. I told her that if she left now, it would be a wonderful gift to mommy, so that I could stay home with my family. I don’t know if I even believe that she could understand that, or even if there was a “her” at all. But I was desperate. Desperate for this to be over. Desperate not to have to get on a plane and travel far from my home to say goodbye to my baby in a strange place.

Not only did I beg my baby to let go, I pleaded with gods I didn’t believe in, and with relatives who had passed long ago, to help me convince her to leave. And, you know, maybe she did leave. Maybe she left behind a shell that still had a strong heartbeat. I suppose that’s possible. I don’t know how this whole life/soul/spirit thing works.

But, of course, what I really wanted was for her heart to stop beating. Because if it did, termination wouldn’t be necessary, and I wouldn’t have to leave home for medical care. That didn’t happen.

Wednesday, September 21

I spent the morning of our flight unpacking my regular clothes and packing away most of my maternity stuff. I kept a few pieces out in case my body didn’t get the message right away. I fought back tears and hoped with all my might that I would soon need those maternity clothes again.

As the plane took off, I couldn’t help but notice that the trees were starting to show their fall colors. Fall is my favorite season. The weather is finally cooler, and soon it would be my birthday, and my husband’s birthday, then our anniversary, and the start of the holiday season. As I watched the ground get farther away, I felt my love for the season diminish. Fall will always hold a deep sadness from this point on. Fall was my favorite season.

Upon arrival in the Big City, our plane was met with some undesirable weather. We ended up in a holding pattern for a while, and the pilot warned us that if we were there too long, we would need to be diverted to another city. Great, I thought. The icing on the shittiest cake ever. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Though we did experience some awful turbulence before landing.

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The storm that almost diverted us 300 miles from our destination.

Thursday, September 22

Morning came slowly, after a night of tossing and turning in an awful hotel bed. I managed to eat a little, but my stomach wouldn’t allow much. All I can think about is how today might go.

So much fucking waiting. I was warned about the time it would take, but that didn’t make it easier. Too much time to think. And cry. I tried to stay distracted by focusing on the conversations my husband and best friend were having, but it was all so trite and annoying.

When it was finally my time, I was taken to an exam room for vitals, etc., much like any doctor appointment. More waiting, then another ultrasound. Pure torture. I chose not to look, but I cried anyway. The tech was really nice, and told me I had an anterior placenta, which explains why I hadn’t felt much movement, even though she was always moving like crazy on the ultrasound.

More waiting, more information about what was to come, and finally it was time for the dilation rods, or laminaria. So far, everyone has been very courteous, but the support person assigned to me and the doctor who placed the rods were incredibly friendly and compassionate. The insertion was almost completely painless. In fact, I hadn’t even realized that she had started until she was nearly done. Right at the end, as the last rod was placed, I began to experience some pain. More waiting in the recovery area, then I was discharged for the day.

Back at the crappy hotel, the pain was almost unbearable, so I took the pain killers they gave me and tried to relax. Eventually, the drugs kicked in, and I was able to get some rest.

Friday, September 23 

19 weeks 6 days

I cried in the shower. This is not how this was supposed to go. At 20 weeks, I should be posting pictures on Facebook of my “half baked” baby bump, not getting ready to “terminate for medical reasons.” I can’t eat or drink, but, for the first time in my life, that’s just fine with me. We drove in silence to the clinic, arriving a half hour early. They called me back right on time. More consents, more vitals, and then I changed into a hospital gown. More waiting, then the IV, pain medication, and finally (but right on time) I’m in the surgical room. Everyone was kind and compassionate, telling me how sorry they were to meet me under these circumstances. The doctor asks me about our plans to try again, and gives me the same recommendation as the OB and MFM: at least 4 mg of folic acid, starting ASAP.

After I get comfortable in the stirrups with my ass hanging off the end of the bed, a cool breeze on my nether regions, they give me the fast-acting sedation. It’s glorious! The procedure took only a few minutes. It was mostly just uncomfortable, but as soon as I told them I was in pain, the doctor paused while the nurse gave me more pain medication. The nurse and doctor talked to me the whole time, asking me about my work and my daughter. I don’t remember much, but I am grateful for the distraction. It was over quickly, and I was wheeled back to recovery where I ate and drank and was discharged about an hour later.

Physically, I felt fine. I was expecting pain, but had none. I bled heavily the remainder of the day, but it was down to spotting by the time we arrived at the airport. Our flight was delayed by about 30 minutes, which isn’t bad at all, but feels like torture when all you want to do is be home and holding your child after losing your baby. It was about 10:30 pm by the time we walked through our front door, and I did indeed pull my little girl out of her bed to hold and rock her for a few minutes. I breathed in her scent, whispered how much I loved her, and told her I was sorry that she wouldn’t be a big sister just yet, but hopefully some day. I fell asleep, crying, but happy to be in my own bed.

Now

It’s hard to say at any given moment how I am doing. Now that the physical part is over, I feel like I can finally move ahead. I’ve returned to work, trying to get back into a normal routine, which will include regular therapy sessions for a while. I’m grateful to be surrounded by caring and supportive people in my “real” life and online. Friends and family are constantly checking on me, and sending lots of love and chocolate. I continue to feel good physically, and it’s my hope that my body will recover it’s “normal” cycle soon.