It’s been a while since I have posted. Mostly because I have been adjusting to getting back into the world, starting work again, seeing loved ones and scarily enough, avoidance. I know that events in April have transpired and paved the path for this “new normal”. This “new normal” involves not taking any human life and interaction for granted, because for a person to exist, so many things need to go right. I know that now and the simplicity of things has been bringing a new joy to my life. That in contrast with the deep pain that I will feel from time to time. It can catch me off guard. My therapist has suggested that I schedule my grieving, which had initially struck me as a strange concept, since I was of the belief that I am grieving all over the place. The point she has been making, if I think about it, has been I haven’t been attaching my feelings (which have been grandiose), to the loss. I haven’t yet visited Anders burial site and I haven’t attended a support group since April. I know there is no “right” way to handle loss, but in all that I do since April, has been marked by the loss of our baby without really talking about him at all. In approximately one week would have been his due date and when I think about it I am faced with a gaping hole which could suck me in and keep me there so I know I need to go slowly….and carefully. This is my new mantra. Take no one and nothing for granted and tread lightly. I also owe a big thanks to all that have been so profoundly supportive and loving.
Often it is said that time heals all wounds. I will agree that having some distance between a painful event can lessen the blow, similar to getting used to a change, but I am not sure if healing necessarily takes place without actively embracing the event. I can say from this experience that time hasn’t healed the pain. In some ways it’s actually harder because all the activity surrounding the event comes to a halt and the memories surge.
I had my follow up with my midwife this past week and she filled out the referral to the high-risk specialist for a consult about trying again. I told her we needed some time before the meeting. We were told the short version of what to expect if we get pregnant again was regimented management and still no guarantees. I want to be in a head space where hearing those words sounds more hopeful as right now my knee-jerk reaction to most news is to pick out the negative.
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.
March 11th is Marc’s birthday which happened to be the date we scheduled our anatomy scan. We thought it was fateful that these two things were happening on the same day. I was nervous that morning and wanted Marc to ride with me to Yale MFM for our appointment. I picked him up from work and off we went, my heart pounding in my chest and my stomach doing flip-flops. Marc was cool as a cucumber which was a comfort. We were called in for the ultrasound, the little guy on the screen moved his hand in a way that looked like he was waving hello. Tears were falling from my eyes, we did it, we really really made this baby! Marc looked proud as I squeezed his hand, he was on my left side and the screen was in front of us both. All measurements were made and the tech said the baby was perfect but wouldn’t get into a position that would allow her to reveal the sex of the baby. She asked if I was comfortable with a trans-vaginal ultrasound and I was so excited “go right ahead”.
After telling us with certainty “it’s a baby boy”, her tone suddenly changed, as she told us she needed to get the Dr. Seconds later Dr. Lipkind entered the room and checked what the tech had found. She explained that my cervix had shortened to 1.8cm when at this point of the pregnancy it would normally be between 5 and 7cm. My heart sank, this wasn’t good news. The Doctor continued to explain that since this was my first full term pregnancy that they would not cerclage (put a stitch in my cervix to secure baby) for fear of breaking my water and exposing membranes. She said that we would try progesterone suppositories and for me to cancel travel plans to be close to care providers. All the celebratory happiness drained right onto the floor. The plan now became, keep baby in, don’t have contractions and watch for signs of pre-term labor because baby wasn’t gonna be secure in his “house”.
I got dressed and tech said a saddened “Happy Birthday” to Marc. I was frozen. I dropped Marc back off at work and spent the rest of the night, bawling and praying the worse case scenario wouldn’t be our scenario. The unknown came back into our lives once again and we had no choice but to keep hope. The day had turned from extreme elation to hopeless fear.
In my heart and gut, I knew how this was gonna go….
Things I will forever associate with Anders:
-Sharon Van Etten
-“The Princess who Believed in Fairytales”, by Marcia Grad
-Thanksgiving and Christmas
-Walking on the boardwalk
-The most excited excitement
-My amazing Midwife
-Birth Partners, LLC and their devotion to their cause
-Sleeping on my left side
-The desire to drink coca-cola
-Feeling reserved and protective
This is an ongoing list…..