I need to know that what I’m feeling is normal. That what I’m going through is a part of the process of grieving. Even though I’ve had two previous angel baby losses, it’s easy to forget how you felt in those moments. The first was almost three years ago and my memory of the after days is fuzzy. I only remember the hospital and the crying but the days after, the void, is foggy. My last miscarriage left me in a deep state of depression that I remember quite well. And although I feel Depression whispering around my body like a curl of smoke, looking for the path of least resistance to enter I’m too strong to allow its entry. At least, I hope I am.
So here I am, Day Five post news and I am numb. My emotions have been cauterized. My body is slow and sluggish as if trying to walk underwater. My desire to do anything is gone. Simple tasks like making dinner and showering feel huge and daunting. I have no conversation, no idle chit chat for my community like I normally do. Smiling seems impossible.
I’ve had this beautiful outpouring of love and messages from people, many of them strangers. These have been both tragically heartbreaking and relieving. On one hand, I see my story could be so much worse. I’ve never felt any of my babies kick or move. I’ve not had that thought, “oh there you are!” and fallen deeper in love from that connection. I’ve never held my dying baby in my arms. I’ve never given birth to a baby who would never take an earth side breath. As a mother, I’ve not come close to the real devastation that comes from childbirth and pregnancy. It’s made my three miscarriages feel so paltry and insignificant to true tragedy. But the other hand is that there’s the fertile men and women out there who don’t know the grief of miscarriage and the people who see it as a tragedy anyways. They’ve sent texts and Facebook messages and have said, “No, you are brave and strong and this happening to you IS NOT fair and this IS a tragedy.” When I hear words like these, I feel united with those who understand my grief, justified in my feelings and more, I feel worthy of the love and support. Losing a baby at any stage is awful; there’s just varying degrees of awful. I’m on that scale regardless.
Each day is a struggle but each day is time passing. Time is what helps wounds heal. One day, this loss will be another scar on my heart, right beside my other two. But for now, I am an up and down, ebb and flow of tears, shock, disbelieve, numbness and anger.
Yesterday I caught myself staring off (I’m doing this a lot unbeknownst to my conscious self) and realized I was in this suspended limbo of disbelieve and denial. I was hoping the doctor was going to call and say, “There’s been a mistake. Come back in and let’s do another scan. Baby is fine.” I was replaying this conversation and variations of it over and over. Then reality would slap me in the face like a bucket of cold water and I’d know that was never going to happen.
I had one day I felt “normal.” Our friends stopped in with brownies and banana loaf (Bless your heart Stephanie!) and I laughed and conversed and didn’t cry telling them what had transpired with the Doctor. When they left I felt I had betrayed my grief. How could I have been acting normal when things weren’t normal? Life was forever changed and here I was discussing real estate and laughing at my husband’s hilarious antics. But like Miranda tells Carrie after Big stands her up in Sex and The City movie: “you’ll laugh again when something is very, very funny.” So maybe the normal is allowing yourself to be immersed in a moment, funny or otherwise?
I’m not an overly outwardly emotional person and like many people, emotions make me uncomfortable. I wanted to have two days of fully feeling grief and pain and anger and then LET IT GO. But it doesn’t want to let me go.
For one thing, my body still thinks it’s pregnant. I’m still nauseous, exhausted, having vivid dreams and my breasts are still tender. My body hasn’t caught up with its reality or with my mind and soul. I’m not even bleeding so now it’s on my shoulders to decide my next step: wait and naturally let baby pass while quietly going crazy waiting? Take a pill to speed it up making it more difficult to conceive again? Or go into the OR and have D and C and risk damage to my cervix? I can’t even decide on clothing (I’ve worn the Hockley shirt for three days now) let alone the fate of the decomposing fetus in my womb. It leaves the wound gaping. There’s no opportunity for closure yet. The grieving process needs a closing point whether that’s a funeral, a final conversation, a silent goodbye or prayer, a passing of the fetus into the toilet where I’d weep and weep but regardless, there needs to be closure. I can’t move on until this happens.
So until this happens, I’m living in the void. I’m in that weird place where tears are suspended until something mundane or small triggers them. I’m in that place where my Life feels not my own. I’m in that void where decisions are too heavy to be weighed. I’m in that space where joy and happiness are unobtainable. That same space that allows the other emotions (anger, disbelief, pain, shock, despair) to sit near the surface and be triggered by unrelated things. I’m numb yet the pain still lingers. I have nothing to say yet my heart is beating a staccato of emotions that demand release. I feel guilty for not participating in Life with my family. I feel bad for ignoring phone calls and texts but the void has no room for idle chit chat and dinner plans.
I hope it’s okay I’m in this void. This void is a new place for me; one I am exploring with apprehension and fear. I need to know I’ll leave this place. I need to know I’ll leave this place SOON. Nothing grows here. Nothing flourishes here. Nothing beautiful can happen in the void. It’s purgatory. I just need to know it’s not forever, that its a temporary stop on the grieving path towards healing.