It’s been over a month since the loss of Anders. Having some distance from the physical experience leaves a deep pain in my heart and stomach, where Anders used to live. It’s not a constant pain, but when it occurs, it takes my breath away. I had thought it would become easier to detect when it would hit, but it never comes when I expect it. Last lightning bolt of pain was at a pharmacy yesterday waiting in line for a prescription and caught sight of the baby shower cards out of the corner of my eye. I didn’t cry but was lost in the feeling for what could have been one minute or 27 hours. Who knows. Time is irrelevant these days but I need to recount the when/where so I can feel like my “normal” schedule oriented self. There is safety in schedules. I don’t have that right now. It’s a free form grief process that can vacillate between extreme sadness and an overwhelming feeling that I will be “OK” but not sure that “OK” will look like anything like it used to.
Running into people at the grocery store is generally not a big deal, except, when it is. Today is the first time I have run into someone I haven’t seen in just about a year who asked the dreaded question, “what have you been up to lately?”. I hadn’t thought about this scenario. If I have been asked, it has been someone I know well enough to disclose the truth, or someone who is enough of a stranger that “not much” or “busy busy” would have sufficed. This person was in the grad program I had graduated from and we knew each other professionally and for over the course of a couple years. I didn’t have a stock answer prepared, so I blurted out, ” I was pregnant for 6 months and lost the baby, I am taking time off from work right now to heal”. Now there’s a way to bring a conversation to a grinding halt. Luckily, she being a therapist, was very kind and said all the right things, but in that moment I realized that this is going to be a reality that I face over time until I get back in the swing. Normally, I could have avoided anything personal with the usual “all work no play”, etc, but literally, pregnant, is what I have been for the past 6 months, no further explanation needed.
I woke up at 3AM with memories of the day when we found out we were losing Anders. Most vivid was when my water broke while waiting for my car that had been valet parked at Yale annnnnnd they lost my car. Marc waited in his found car, so that I could follow him home in case anything happened. The humility of standing there, waiting for my car, soaked, scared, praying I would make it through the night without laboring the baby. That is a moment I will never forget. I waited one hour, contractions every 5 minutes and no protection for this baby through the night. I tend to fall on the anxious side and the unknown is the anxious persons worst enemy. I came to be familiar with the unknown in this pregnancy, so I am inspired to make peace with it. It’s just a notion anyway. Anders will live with me in those moments where my heart is racing, the thoughts are whirring and remind me to breathe and recognize that it’s OK to let go and let what will be, be.
I chose to start to blog about this experience because for such an extrovert, I struggle with finding words when I really need to reach out. On April 1st of this year, Marc (my husband) and I lost our baby Anders Maddox at 22 weeks of pregnancy. It is such profound pain and partly because while knowing him so well by feeling him growing inside of me, we never had the chance to meet face to face. i found solace in reading other peoples blogs that are going through the grief and loss of losing their babies and hope I can provide that same thing. I am not working now either, which leaves me with a lot of time on my hands to create in whatever way possible. I spent a majority of my pregnancy on bed rest which adds to this complicated grief, since we were never able to celebrate. I didn’t reach out for the support I needed, and in no way, shape or form, was it not available. We had an abundance offers to help clean the house, pop over for a chat, phone calls missed, etc. I was stuck in this couch cocoon with only my head and this lil babe growing in me. Crying, worrying, reading countless threads on “incompetent cervix”, pre-term labor cues, etc. I had a doula, midwife and high risk specialist monitoring me, but I learned very quickly that “monitoring” creates a sense of control which really does not exist. Though each involved were a great comfort. It really is a miracle when babies can go to full term and be healthy and ALIVE! I still feel somewhat numb about the experience, but I keep telling myself that it’ll come in time and when it does, it will be a rush of complexity. Or maybe it’s already here and I have yet to connect with it.