Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rainbows Come After the Storm

I've decided to do another post about the miscarriage issue. I think it's important (if only for my own peace of mind) to explain a little more about the emotions of miscarriage, loss, recovery, life after, and trying to become pregnant with a rainbow baby.

Learning to try to live life "normally" again, as if your child didn't exist and your world didn't stop in an instant is probably the worst part of it all. Because people forget, and it's like no one cares anymore that you still are thinking about your child and haven't moved on. Moving on... that's exactly the hardest part. The world continues to move on, even though you are still reeling over why no one else has stopped. You know you too, must move forward even if you aren't moving on. That is scary.  The guilt of trying to "go back" to life is overbearing as to do that, one must actually put down the weight of their miscarriage if even for just a portion of their day. For me at least, it felt like putting down my child and forgetting about them for a while. Guilt stabs at you for that.

Yet, you learn how to manage. You smile again, laugh again, go back to making dinner, going to work. Your routine. And then you remember and your whole world stops again and you feel ripped in two. How many times I've cried for my child and wondered why me, of all people. I'm not perfect. I'm not a perfect mom. But damn it, I loved my child and wanted my child, and as my due date approaches I find myself once again trying to understand why it's me who doesn't get to hold their baby at the end.

For some of us, who go back to trying to conceive and carry a baby to term in the wake of loss, it brings additional emotions of guilt, fear, anger, bitterness, and hope. You are hoping so hard that this time, this time you will get to hold your baby at the end of it all. You will get your rainbow, you hope. But what if your baby thinks you are trying to replace him/her? Would they be mad at you? Even if you understand why miscarriages happen, you wonder what could be so special this time around to warrant deserving this pregnancy and baby? Anger at why it may have worked this time but not last time. You want all your babies, and you still can't understand why you can't have them all.

So here's where I'm at. I got my positive pregnancy test on October 5. My grandfather's anniversary. Definitely just one baby this time, after it was determined my last two pregnancies were twins. One heartbeat, tiny little thing. I usually get two due dates, and this time is no different. Baby is due around June 11 or June 20. I'm still holding my breath. I had my ultrasound today and even though it's comforting that baby is in there, and has a heart's still nerve-wracking because you know that that's just for today. That's just this time. You still have plenty of time to get heartbroken again. I'm simultaneously relieved and scared shitless. Simultaneously hopeful and heartbroken that I have to do this all over again (worry, puke, worry, hope, pray...that things work out this time). Trying not to be bitter because you know that regardless of how hard you hope and pray, you know that you have exactly zero control over the ultimate outcome despite how bad you want it.

That's exactly how it is. At least for me and the moment I am in now.

"Rainbow Babies" is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Miscarriage & Pregnancy Loss, Coping, and its Effects

I have always been very quiet and introspective when I have had devastating events happen to and around me because most of the time, I didn't feel I'd get the support I desired or needed. It is no surprise that during my last two miscarriages, I didn't tell anyone but maybe a few friend privately. I grieved on my own with my husband, and for me I was able to cope well.

With this pregnancy, people started to notice my growing belly/pregnancy bloat and pregnancy symptoms right away - and I mean right away. I had to tell my supervisor at work at just 6 weeks pregnant. So I announced early - on Mother's Day. Everyone practically knew anyways, so it seemed natural that the next step would be to just announce.

When I went in for a routine ultrasound at just shy of 11 weeks - and there was no heartbeat - the devastation that this happened to me again, hit like a freight train. A fourth angel rather than a third child. A third miscarriage with a perfect reproductive system. Again.

These seem like just words, but the emotions behind them are what I want to discuss. People have said they can't imagine how I feel, or that they sometimes wish they knew so they would know what to say.

But you don't. You don't want to imagine, you don't want to know. The pain strikes at your very core - every bit of who you are. Every heart beat echoing, "Gone. Gone. Gone." It's like have a needle in your heart that jabs deeper every time it beats. Your baby - who from the moment of his/her knowledge - you imagined a life with, a future for... is gone. Not coming back. You'll never hold them, you'll never hear them cry. Nevermind hear them cry, "Mama," or whine, "Maaaamaaaa," or groan, "Mom," or excitedly, "Mom!" You'll never see them smile, walk, run. You'll never see them off to school, or college. Never see them marry, have children.

Those seem like such future events you wouldn't consider at such a stage as early pregnancy. But it is. When you become pregnant - at least, I speak for myself as a woman - your life forever changes to wrap around and embrace this new future - a future that changes because of and with the child in your womb. When that baby is gone - that future is gone. Every single wish, dream, or thought you had about the future comes crashing back down on your head like a shower of razors. Each one cuts you deep - the child - the sibling - that won't be.

But it's more than that. The pain strikes at everything you are, too, remember? So on top of that pain, you wonder (at least, every other loss mom I've spoken to - and myself). Did I eat enough? Did I eat healthy enough? Miss too many prenatals? Bump my belly, or take too hot a bath? Stress too much, what about that sip of wine you had before you knew you were pregnant? It doesn't matter that we all know logically that this just happens, that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss - you try to find your fatal flaw. What did you do? What if you're not deserving enough? What if you aren't good enough of a mom for 2, 3, 5 kids (or however many it would be)? Are you being karmic-ally punished? What if you aren't "woman enough" (anymore)? Is your body working against you? Are your eggs okay? Is your uterus rejecting your baby?

Don't forget the anger. Angry that this has happened to you (again). Why you? Why are you less deserving than crack-addicts, or the woman who has four other kids she doesn't take care of? Once again, logically, you know that you are no judge of who does and doesn't deserve kids - but you want to be. You want to feel like you deserve your baby - you actually wanted this baby, envisioned a future with this baby, took care of yourself. You felt you were doing what you could to be a good mom already - so why you? Every mom walking by with a baby in the supermarket becomes a mark for your ire - every Facebook pregnancy announcement makes you want to scream.

The hurt and the anger usually leaves you so drained - so short with people and so irritated with the world - you don't want to get out of bed. It physically drains you to have to get out of bed before you're ready. You lash out at the people you care about - you spiral in anger to a point where you end up sobbing in the bathroom with the door shut, or with the pillow over your head because you just can't handle life right that minute. It sounds ironic - you can't handle life, when all you wanted was the life of your baby. But it's true. Life becomes just that much more difficult, lonely, and unfair. There are so many other emotions I could go into, but right now this is the gist of things - to give just a taste of the reality loss parents deal with every day.

It reminds you just how little control you actually have over your entire life.

That you can do everything perfectly - you can dream up the most wonderful dream - but not all stories have a happy ending.