Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Last year I:

Post by Anonymous.

If you'd like to use this space to tell your stories/secrets/bad jokes, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...

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Congratulations, you found me!

Thanks to the generosity of Her Bad Mother, I can finally do this post. I’ve wanted to write it for a long time but haven’t because of certain people that I don’t want to read it. The secret lair to the rescue. It may seem all a bit too ‘cloak and dagger’ but what can I say? I’m a control freak.

There are some warnings to this post.
1) This post is sad and involves death of loved ones. If you happen to be pregnant and, like me, cannot tolerate any mention of death of loved ones while pregnant, leave now.
2) There is a risk that I will get all ‘circle of life’, so if that is only marginally more tolerable for you than death of loved ones, leave now.
3) To tell this story I must mention women’s biology If you can’t handle mention of bleeding etc., leave now.
4) I’m going to write freely, which means swearing. Don’t like it? Fuck off – er, I mean, leave now.

Last year I spent most of my year doing two things. Mourning and preparing for a new life. Well, see, that already is not true. I should have been doing both, but in reality I wasn’t. See, I thought preparing for new life – getting pregnant and building a baby – could prevent/mask/override any mourning I needed to do. Um, no.

Here goes...

Early last year I found out I was pregnant. At 7 weeks, I had an ultrasound and was told that, well, OK, my pregnancy was viable but – and I quote – don’t tell anyone you’re pregnant. Fuck. I knew what that meant; I was most likely going to lose the pregnancy. And although no one at the clinic, or my doctor’s office, or even my husband was willing to speculate on what we would all find out for certain in a week or so, I certainly was. I speculated all the way home. “I’m going to lose this baby. Sometime over the next few days, my baby is going to die inside of me. No baby! Yes, yes, I know I can try again, but this one, the one I have in me now, my first, the one I’ve been dreaming about, is going to die. DIE.“

Initiate disaster coping; emotional lockdown.

“Power through it. Happens all the time. Lots of women go through it, simply try again. I – we – will try again. Get back on that horse, no scrapes and bruises, you’re alright.” I convinced myself that I could deal, "no big whoop – a total bummer, yes, but you know, not a disaster. Its not as if anyone di –" oh wait…All I wanted was to be behind my own front door so I could regroup. But the day would not leave me alone. Waiting for me at home was a message from one of my dearest friends informing me that one of my other dearest friends had killed himself.

Lockdown, LOCK! DOWN!

Now I have to stop here to explain the lockdown. One of my most predominant traits is that I have a very delayed reaction to bad/stressful/difficult circumstances. It is a mixed blessing. For example, if you ever find yourself in a shit storm, I’m the person you want watching your back. I have a denial/non-self-reflective reflex that prevents me from buckling under pressure. I think rather than feel. I detach to the extreme. I lockdown. But as I said, it’s fucked up. How else would explain how, on a day when someone finds out that they had lost one of their best friends and was probably going to lose their pregnancy, that they could go to a job interview and land the job. Seriously. That’s fucked up.

The following week, it was confirmed that I lost the baby. I opted to take Oxytocin at home to finish the miscarriage. Here we go again: “Power through it. Happens all the time. Lots of women go through it, simply try again. I – we – will try again. Get back on that horse, no scrapes and bruises, you’re alright.” I played it down so much that my husband actually went back to work from the hospital while I went home alone to start the process. (BTW, do not - DO NOT – do this alone. So fucked up. I felt like I was having a botched abortion. The painkillers were not strong enough and I was emotionally fucked and…well, DO NOT do this alone.) Fucked, fucked up.

I bled for three weeks. It was a daily reminder of my miscarriage and, because of the association of that first day, a reminder, too, of my friend’s death. We were so far from Vancouver and from our other friends that my husband and I didn’t know how to deal with his suicide, or with whom. We have great friends here in Toronto and they were wonderfully supportive and sympathetic but we were apart from everyone else that was grieving and I needed them to show me how.

Three fucking tough weeks. But finally it ended.

Then, one week later, more bleeding. Hurray, my period! We can start trying again. But after a night of restlessness and bad cramps, the worst thing. Turns out my miscarriage was incomplete. It was like having another one. This one, so much less bloody, but more gory than anything I could have ever imagined. So so so fucked up. Oh, and did I mention this day was Mother’s Day? A cosmic fuck you if ever there was one. And what did I do when this happened? Did I shrivel up into a ball on the bathroom floor like I felt like doing? Like I would have been totally entitled to do given the circumstances? No. I assured my husband that I was fine and we had friends over for dinner. Say it with me: fucked up!

The whole time - even through a seemingly appropriate amount of tears and sharing of feelings with friends and my husband – I never really let anyone in. I knew my husband was patiently waiting, and I love him for that, but as the scope of my loss continued to expand, I became more and more fearful of ever letting it out. I was scared shitless.

But it had to come out. I needed to move on. We decided to go home to Vancouver to say goodbye to our friend. It was the best decision. Seeing our friends and being able to be with them at a special memorial up in the interior of BC, was a truly special experience. My husband and I spent most of the time crying our eyes out. When we weren’t doing that, we were getting’ busy under the stairs of a friends house in her makeshift guest room. And as we said goodbye to our friend, in his favourite place on the planet, I got pregnant. Resolution on so many levels!

I still have a hard time dealing with the miscarriage. Partly because I tried so hard to convince myself it was no big deal, just a common casualty of pregnancy. But three things have helped me acknowledge how heavy miscarriage is and that helped me get over it. First: all health care workers referred to my second pregnancy as just that: my second pregnancy. Each time they did, they prevented me from telling myself that that first one didn’t really count, it was only a few weeks after all…it did count, and I couldn’t ignore that. Secondly, a colleague revealed to me that she had lost a child during birth and when she subsequently got pregnant she suffered a miscarriage. She said that for her, the pain was the same. Now, I have a hard time believing that, but regardless, it did, again, help validate my first pregnancy, allowing me to accept the amount of grief I was carrying around. Lastly, the birth of my son has helped me most of all.

I cannot help but think that everything happened like it should have. That for whatever reasons, I – we – were meant to get pregnant back in BC, as we said goodbye to our friend and that everything lead us there. All I know is, we now have the most beautiful son and that is all I need to know.


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**Comment settings have been re-adjusted to allow ALL comments. Sorry to those who were shut out for a while...

23 comments:

metro mama said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chichimama said...

I am so sorry. What a horrible thing to have gone through. Big hugs. I hope writing about it has helped you...

bubandpie said...

Thanks for writing this. I remember reading once that parents in the Middle Ages did not love their children the way we love our children today because of the high birth rates and the high rate of infant mortality. Bullshit. Yes, miscarriage happens to a lot of women - far, far too many women. But the loss is real and so, if I'm reading you right, is the anger. And it's so easy to direct that anger inward, because who else is there to be mad at? (Well, pesticide companies maybe...) Just reading this post is really liberating - thanks for being so honest (whoever you are).

Lindsay said...

I am sooo sorry that happened to you! I hope that this post with help in ways that only you may understand! Its better then putting a band-aid on your pain and expeting it all to heal "eventually"... It may scar but the scar is what helps us all move on!
Just know that now you have a little itty bitty guardian angle that is looking over you and your family each and every day!

Veronica Mitchell said...

Dear heart, what tragedy for you. I am so sorry for both your losses. When my sister miscarried after two healthy births, she and her husband both called it the worst experience of their lives. I was far away and could only listen to her story without being around to offer any substantive help. I hope there is relief and some measure of comfort in telling your story here. You have the tears of other women with you.

mama_tulip said...

I can relate to this in that I had my first daughter amid tragedy and mourning. I'd just lost my mom when I found out I was pregnant. I was shocked. I didn't want to be pregnant, I wanted to cry and scream and shout because my mom was dead. I really do believe that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger...at the time I thought I just might die without my mom and here I am, almost four years later, married with two kids and feeling love I never thought I'd feel.

I commend you for writing this, for sharing your story with us, for barring your soul. I had a miscarriage before I got pregnant with my daughter and it was one of the most difficult things I've had to deal with as a woman. By sharing your story here you are letting so many other women who have been there before that they're not alone, their feelings are valid and warranted. That's awesome. Thank you.

metro mama said...

I'm so sorry this happened. I hope writing about the experience will help you sort through your feelings.

All the best.

Andrea said...

I'm sorry for both losses you suffered. Thank you for being brave enough to write this, even if it is in the Secret Lair. I hope the writing of it was cathartic for you in the way you hoped. Thank you for sharing.

Amber said...

I hope writing this was healing for you, and I bet it will help someone who reads it. It is a real loss! That should be validated, for anyone who goes through it. Bless your heart.

:)

chelle said...

Holy SHIT! As you wrote how you dealt with the miscarriage I was all...how did she get into my HEAD?!?! It was freaky. However it was nice to read you are pregnant again. We are not but I keep hoping. I never lived all the pain on my blog, but everyone knew about it. It sucked.

Hope writing this helped! Any help is good.

Michele said...

You "unlocked" and it was good. Thanks for sharing because I always find comfort in knowing other people struggled like I did with dealing with the tough stuff. I call it my "auto-pilot" and you are right, it's messed up and I need to be more open to dealing with things when they actually happen.
I am so sorry for you losses.

Bahar said...

I had no idea how hard a miscarriage could be.

Wow. You are a super woman. I am happy that you have a miracle baby now.

Something tells me, while you were crying for your friend, while you were trying to connect with him and saying goodbye, he decided that he didn't want to leave you, after all. Who knows, maybe he wanted you to have a little boy.

Mother Bumper said...

I'm not sure what to say because everything I try to say comes out wrong but here it goes:
I'm sorry this happened to you. I can tell by looking at the comments that you've helped others, by opening eyes and shared stories.
Thank you.

Jezer said...

What a horrible time that must have been for you, on so many levels. I'm so glad that your beautiful son gave this story a happy ending.

Thank you for sharing this with us. I hope you have found comfort and peace in writing it, and I am certain that you have helped those who have read it.

HBM, thank you for letting us hang out in your basement.

Her Bad Mother said...

Thanks for this, Anonymous. And thanks to all for your supportive comments and virtual hugs.

A couple of people weren't able to post comments initially. Amy (Binkytown) sent this message:

Dear Anonymous poster: There really is some truth to the circle of life. I was very moved by your post. I lost my first at 10 weeks and how I reconcilled this with the universe is to realize that I love my son (my second pregnancy) more than anything. I would have loved my first just as much, but then it would have been someone else, not the son I have now and I'm so thankful, he's
such a joy to me.

Ironically, I dont think the real loss hit me until I had my second because I got pregnant like you, almost immediately after so I stuffed those feelings of loss away, so worried I'd lose another. It's good that you are writing/feeling these things. Hug your baby.

Feel better.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,

Thank you all SO MUCH for your support and kind words. I really could not have let this out except through blogging and doing so has really helped me to close this chapter. I simply cannot express how much you've all helped me to finally put this time behind me . Thanks so much.

Naomi said...

Thank you for posting this. The emotion was very raw, and I hope it was healing for you.

As I read it, I thought about the miscarriage I had before my son was conceived...it was an "early" miscarriage, in that I didn't even know it was a miscarriage until I went to the doctor with a period that lasted 3 weeks. Nowhere near as traumatic, but still a loss.

However, I did lose another baby, who, if I didn't, would be around 6 years old now. And I hadn't thought of it in a very long time. Maybe I'll write about that sometime.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry. I've never been through a miscarriage, and I count myself fortunate in that regard. I can only imagine the devastation, and your post has helped me understand that pain better. Thank you.

J's Mommy said...

I just read the first few lines and I can't continue. Not now. I will come back, but I wanted you to know I was here.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the way you handle painful situations, emotional or otherwise, is fucked up. I think it's okay. It's what you do; it's who you are. The fact that you are at least capable of recognizing how you delay dealing with stuff is, in and of itself, healthy. I mean, shit. What is healthy, anyway? Where's the ruler? How do we *really* know?

I think you're on the right track. I'm really sorry about the loss of your friend. I'm also very sorry about the loss of that first baby. I (very willingly)aborted a baby several years ago; I was at about 7-8 weeks. I've never forgotten that baby, and I sometimes think about how old it would be now, if I'd chosen to carry it. I think about how it would be the older sibling to my little baby. I -- I miss it. I had no misgivings about the abortion, either. still don't. but I miss the baby.

?

I say all that to, I guess, point out that nothing is logical or clear or obvious in these situations. for what it's worth.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this. I just miscarried and was searching for something - anything to relate to how I was feeling. At the end where you wrote that healthcare workers referred to your second pregnancy as just that, validating that that first pregnancy did indeed count - that part really hit home. And I needed to hear that.

So thank you - who knows how long it would've taken me to come to that on my own??

Al_Pal said...

Ouchies and *HUGS* to you.
I like the circle of life-ness. Even with bad shit along the way, we seem to get to where we're meant to be. Or at least I feel that way some days. :P

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