Friday, December 30, 2005

Why am I still Grieving?

Information from parents experiencing perinatal death reveals that it will take approximately 2 years to come to terms with the loss. In addition to grieving the loss of her pregnancy, a woman will have to come to terms with her own brush with death and deal with the physical healing of her body.

excerpted from a pregnancy loss article by The Emergency Nurses Association

So there I was, almost 2 years ago. Thinking only of myself for the first time in my life. Living in the decadence of enjoying my man, who loved me. Who filled all my unmet needs and desires. Reveling in the single lifestyle I had missed out on when I got married for the first time at 18, ending up raising 3 children alone. Working 16/7 days at my business, no time for a social life.

And it seemed like, no sooner did the party get started, when it came to an abrupt halt! After a wonderful Christmas holiday vacation away. After standing on the beach on New Year's Eve, sipping champagne. After making promises of a lifetime.

After coming back. After looking at the calendar and counting. And counting again. After peeing on a stick and staring...

My heart in my throat as I stare at those two lines!? How in the world could that be possible? I was in my late 40's! They told me it couldn't happen, told me it was impossible. And yet, still we had used birth control. Well, I guess when they say it's not 100%, they mean it!

You can't imagine how foolish you can feel. Going to your boyfriend. Telling him. Feeling like a careless 15 year old. "Oops! I'm pregnant!" That after all the agony we had gone through to find a safe method of birth control - sorry, it wasn't so safe!

I was hurt, enraged at the unfairness of it all. Ranted that I was never allowed to have a life of my own. But even so, I started to love our little one, to hope for our little one.

The cramping started. OMG, not again! The bleeding started. The beta was 6,000! The ultrasound found a growing baby. The bleeding got worse...

At times, I stood apart, wondering. Who was this man at my side? Holding my hand? Wrapping his arms around me? Comforting me through my tears? It was an experience I had never felt before...

Then it ended in a gush of blood. If I had been at home alone, I probably would have left it too late. I hate going to hospitals. But this man hugged me, and guided me to the car. Supported me as I walked, my blood pouring out of me. Who ran for a wheelchair, when I realized I was starting to pass out from so much loss.

Who ran for the nurse, when I saturated the floor with my blood. Who wept when they said they had to rush me into surgery before I bleed out. Whose heart was breaking, and so very terrified.

Who was standing there, holding my hand when I woke up. Who took me home and put me to bed. Who fed me soup, and held me while I cried.

Who raged with me over the loss of our "miracle" child. Why had we been given such a great gift? Only to have it snatched away again??? What kind of cosmic game was being played???

This was a man who had experienced great loss himself. Who had his beloved first wife die suddenly in his arms just a year before. Who lost his best friend to suicide.

A man who grieved the loss of our child. Who feared losing me along with our child. We grieved together. And decided together that we could not end this with death, but with hope.

I told him the risks, that my history of recurrent miscarriage, "advanced maternal age" and "old eggs" greatly reduced our chances of being successful. We set the ground rules. No extreme measures, no meds or medical intervention, no donor eggs or sperm. If it didn't happen naturally, it was not meant to be. We still believed it was worth trying.

We have had 6 more early, early losses since then. What they call "chemical pregnancies". Our latest one just in November. The pain in my heart, the grief in my soul is heavy. If it takes 2 years to recover from a loss, I have 24 years of pain & grief.

So many tiny souls, so many tiny lives that left their footprints on my heart, on my soul. But I read yesterday something that makes sense to me. I will stop when the pain of going on, is stronger than the pain of stopping. But each month, I let go, just a little more...

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Pet Campbell said...

Thank you for sharing,I lost my 18 yr old daughter 5 yrs ago, and for whatever reason, found myself overwhelmed with grief recently.
There is no time frame for grief, no magic formula,as you well know.
I could use a friend, how about you?
Pet Campbell

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt said...

Pet, I am so sorry! {{hugs}}

I have an almost 18y old son, and I just can't imagine him not being here anymore.

You are right, there is no time-frame, no magic formula - and I think it is an on-going journey.

I have tried so hard not to dwell in sorrow and grief this past couple of years, and it has done me no good.

A friend would be nice...